How Well Do You Remember Schindler's List?

Torrance Grey

Image: Universal Pictures (presents) (A Film by Steven Spielberg) Amblin Entertainment

About This Quiz

This stunning, sobering film about the Holocaust won multiple Academy Awards back in the early 1990s. Test your knowledge of this Spielberg masterpiece with our quiz!

What year was Schindler's List released?

The idea for a Schindler film had been floating around Hollywood for decades. Even Steven Spielberg delayed, wondering if he was mature enough as a filmmaker to take on the topic of the Holocaust.

What artistic choice separated Schindler's List from other '90s films?

"Schindler's List" begins in color, around a Sabbath table. After the candles are extinguished, the film cuts to Poland in 1939 and proceeds in black-and-white to the very end.

What was Schindler's first name?

Oskar Schindler was born in 1908 and died in 1974. He is buried in Mount Zion Catholic Cemetery, Jerusalem.

Who played Oskar Schindler?

Spielberg liked Neeson's performance in the play Anna Christie. In it, Neeson acted opposite the woman he would later marry, Natasha Richardson.

Where was Oskar Schindler born?

Schindler identifies himself as German in the film, and he was ethnically German. But he was born in Moravia, in what is now the Czech Republic.

Schindler's profession is usually summed up as what?

Schindler is portrayed in the film as a very savvy industrialist. He has an unerring instinct for which palms to grease, and how to handle difficult personalities.

Who played Schindler's accountant, Itzhak Stern?

The Stern character was actually a composite of three people close to Schindler: Stern himself, Schindler's plant manager, and Schindler's secretary. In the list-making scene, Stern is shown, but in real life, secretary Mietek Pemper typed the names.

Why does Stern scratch his head when around the Nazis?

Stern says that the Nazis stay away from Jews they believe have lice, for fear of catching it. Stern sacrifices a bit of dignity to keep his enemies at a distance.

What does Schindler's first factory in Krakow manufacture?

Enamelware is kitchen goods made of cast iron coated with enamel. Enamel is valued for cookware because it's scratch resistant and easy to clean.

Where does Schindler find the black marketeers in Krakow?

The young, irreverent traders do business in the pews while a priest intones the mass. Schindler breaks the ice with one of them by complimenting his shirt, then saying he'd like to find one like it.

In conversation with his wife, what does Schindler say is the ingredient that has made him successful at last?

Toward the end of the film, Schindler outright calls himself a "war profiteer." By that point, though, his motives in running his business have changed.

What is Schindler's wife's name?

Schindler was, unfortunately, a famous womanizer. His marriage to Emilie did not last a lifetime, though it lasted through the war years.

Who played SS officer Amon Goeth?

British actor Tim Roth was also up for the role. But Fiennes was chosen because Spielberg felt he had an "evil sexuality."

What item noticeably appears in color in an otherwise black-and-white scene?

Spielberg has said that he intended the girl's coat being in color -- being noticeable -- to represent the fact that the United States, even those at the highest levels of power, knew about the ethnic cleansing of the Jews and did not intervene.

Goeth has a Jewish engineer shot for telling him a foundation has to be repoured. What does he do next?

This moment in the film underscores the utter arbitrariness with which the Nazis treated their Jewish prisoners. The engineer, who had a degree from the University of Milan, was correct, but was killed anyway.

What is the name of Goeth's personal housekeeper?

Hirsch is part of a riveting intercut of scenes halfway through the film. Goeth happens upon her while bathing and seems close to forcing himself on her, while Schindler enjoys a raucous party upstairs and a young Jewish couple is married in the barracks.

What is the fate of Goeth's houseboy, Lisiek?

Goeth, trying on a magnanimous personality, "pardons" Lisiek for not being able to get stains off his bathtub walls. Then, Goeth looks in the mirror and his expression turns sour, and a moment later, Lisiek is felled by a rifle shot. It's clear that Goeth is to blame.

Why, in the film, is Schindler arrested?

This was apparently an embellishment in the script. Schindler was arrested several times for black-market activities, but not for kissing a Jewish woman.

What does Schindler intend to make at his new factory?

Goeth scoffs at the idea at first; everyone is making munitions, he says. And he was right to be skeptical. Schindler's factory is a "model of nonproduction," as the film puts it.

In what town does Schindler locate his munitions factory?

Schindler has to bribe Goeth to allow him to relocate his factory, and all his workers, to the town. In Brinnlitz, Czechoslovakia, he intends for his factory to be extremely nonproductive, as he doesn't really want to help the war effort.

What does Goeth suggest he might do with Helen Hirsch?

This moment shows Goeth's tortured state of mind: in a sick way, he feels his loves his housekeeper. Enough to fantasize about spending his life with her, and enough to consider a mercy killing rather than let her go to Auschwitz.

How does Schindler win Helen Hirsch's freedom from Goeth?

Schindler coaxes Goeth into the card game. We don't see the game itself, but later Hirsch is among the women lined up to go to Brunnitz.

Where is the train of women accidentally routed?

The train goes to Auschwitz. This leads to what might be the movie's most harrowing scene. In it, the women are given haircuts by force and herded into showers. The audience suspects they're about to be gassed, but the room turns out to be, actually, a communal shower.

Which happens first: Schindler running out of money, or the end of the war?

Apparently, this was more or less what happened in real life. The once money-motivated Schindler spent his fortune protecting his Jewish workforce, running out of funds at about the time Germany surrendered.

How does Amon Goeth die?

The scene where Goeth is hanged has a "banality of evil" feel about it. He stands on a stool with a noose around his neck, and when the time comes, the soldiers have a hard time kicking it out from under him -- it takes several awkward attempts before he finally hangs.

Who greets the Jews outside the factory, the morning after Schindler leaves?

The Soviet officer tells them they are now free. It's true, but the workers are perplexed as to which way to go, and finally they set off toward a town in search of food.

At what moment does the black-and-white film turn back to color?

The film cuts from the actors portraying the workers heading across a field, to the survivors standing in the same field. Then the action moves to Israel, where they visit Oskar Schindler's grave.

What did the Schindler Jews and the film's actors lay on Schindler's grave?

In Jewish graveyards, stones are placed on a grave for remembrance, whereas Christians usually lay flowers. Liam Neeson does lay two roses on Schindler's grave, after everyone else is finished.

Was Oskar Schindler a Nazi?

While we tend to think of "Nazis" as only the military officers and troops, a great many average people were members of the Nazi Party -- and so was Schindler. This makes it all the more extraordinary that he was buried on Mount Zion in Israel.

Which of the following actors was NOT considered for the role of Schindler?

Edwards, then of "Top Gun" fame, would have been a bit young. Gibson's candidacy now seems ironic, given his anti-semitic outburst in the 2000s.

The movie was based on what source material?

There was a magazine article about Schindler -- The Humanitarian Who Cheated Adolf Hitler -- but it wasn't the primary source. Poldek Pfefferberg, a former Schindler worker, interested the Australian novelist Thomas Keneally in the story, and Keneally wrote the book that came to Spielberg's attention.

Which famous violinist performed on the soundtrack?

Perlman was born in Tel Aviv before it was part of the nation of Israel. His parents were from Poland, where much of Schindler's List is set.

Which director, who turned down the chance to direct the film, actually survived the Krakow ghetto?

Spielberg apparently felt he had misstepped by offering the property to someone who'd been so personally affected by the Holocaust. But Polanski went on to make his own Holocaust film, The Pianist.

Steven Spielberg won the Oscar for Best Director for Schindler's List. How many had he won before?

Spielberg's failure to win a Best Director award, or sometimes even to be snubbed of a nomination, was much talked about around Hollywood. Schindler's List was, quite deservedly, the film that broke his streak.

Spielberg later used the film for what purpose?

Spielberg returned to school to finish his degree in film many years after dropping out. His professor accepted Schindler's List in place of a final project. Way to show up the rest of the class, Steven.

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