Puntierer - today Murray Pantirer - was the only one
of his family to survive. He lost both his parents, two
sisters and four brothers during the war, all murdered by
He himself was saved because Oscar Schindler gave him work
at his factory, provided him with food and protected him
from the Nazi reign of terror. Murray Pantirer later
recalled the time a prisoner stole some potatoes:
"An SS man put a potato in his mouth. He had to stand
outside like that in the cold weather, and it was written
on him 'I'm a potato thief.' When Schindler saw it, he
took the potato out of his mouth, and said to the guy, 'go
back to your work.' And he told the SS man: In my camp you
don't do those things."
During World War 2 Abraham Zuckerman
spent his teenage years in Nazi concentration camps, never
hearing about Oscar Schindler until he was sent as a
worker to his factory, known as Emalia, at Plaszow in
"The moment that I arrived, I knew that my
life had changed," Abraham Zuckerman later recalls.
"There was food and mountains of potatoes. One never
went hungry ..."
"The movie showed one thing, but there were other
things that he did in camp, little things," says
Zuckerman. "He was a chain smoker, so he used to take
a puff and throw it away. For the survivors, the people
who were smoking, it meant a lot to them to pick it up and
have a puff. He would do it on purpose, knowing that
people would pick it up."
He couldn't just give them cigarettes or extra food
because there were Nazi guards in the factory who might
squeal if they witnessed behavior deemed too humane;
indeed, says Zuckerman, Schindler was arrested a couple of
times because somebody reported him.
Despite the conditions, Oscar Schindler was always a
perfect gentleman to the inmates, he says. "He bowed
to you, and he said good morning to you," Zuckerman
says, which may not sound like much of a favor, but to
those beaten-down Jews, that small acknowledgement of
their dignity gave them enormous hope.
Abraham Zuckerman has devoted himself to memorializing
Oscar Schindler. Zuckerman published his memoirs in 1991.
His "A Voice in the Chorus" is a moving
and powerful addition to the library of works on the
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