Schindler’s Ark tells the true story of Oskar Schindler, a Nazi Party member and factory owner, who saved over 1000 Jews from certain death. While the story is true the book is written as a novel.

The book also charts the story of the creation and liquidation of the ghetto in Krakow.  The book won the Booker Prize in 1982 and was made into the Academy Award winning film Schindler’s List by Steven Spielberg in 1993.

Discussion Questions

Please note that some of the discussion points below may act as spoilers for the book’s content.

1.    can a man as morally flawed as Oskar Schindler ever truly be described as a ‘hero’?

2.    is Amon Goethe Oskar Schindler’s ‘dark brother’?

3.    throughout the novel we are told that Schindler despised the SS and other Nazi officials he worked with.  Do you believe this to be true or a judgement made in hindsight? 

4.    did Oskar always have ‘an impulse to rescue’?

5.    do what degree can Schindler’s actions be credited to Itzhak Stern?

6.    economic necessity of cheap workforce vs desire to rescue?  What was Schindler’s motivation for employing primarily a Jewish workforce?  Did this change over time?

7.    did you form an opinion of the role and motivation of the members of the Jewish police force in the ghetto?

8.    did witnessing the murders in Krakosa Street mark a change of motivation for Schindler?

9.    why do you think Schindler never achieved his pre-war financial success after the war had ended?

10.  do you feel the novelisation of the story helped your understanding or would you have preferred a traditional biography?

You can download this book group activity

You can use HMDT resources to find out more about:

The liquidation of the Krakow Ghetto and other acts of resistance and resuce

Individuals who risked their lives to save others include Frank Foley and Irena Sendlerowa.