A Czech foundation plans to restore the disused factory where German industrialist Oskar Schindler saved more than a thousand Jews, giving it new life as a Holocaust Museum.
“Our aim is to restore the building to its original condition, including the watchtower,” said Jaroslav Novak, head of the Shoah and Oskar Schindler Foundation, Agence France-Presse reports.
Schindler, who died in 1974, employed 1,200 Jews in his enamelware and munitions factories in Nazi-occupied Poland and Czechoslovakia, sparing them from Hitler’s gas chambers. The compound was built in the 19th century, and is located in Brněnec, formerly called Brünnlitz, was near his hometown of Svitavy, which used to be called Zwittau.
Parts of the complex were granted cultural monument status by the country’s cultural ministry earlier this month, AFP reports. His mill, laboratory, chemical depot, front door and gathering square “have close historical links ... to the Gross-Rosen concentration camp in Brněnec,” AFP quoted a ministry spokeswoman, Simona Cigankova, as saying.
Schindler’s story was immortalized in Tom Keneally’s bestselling novel Schindler’s Ark in 1982, and later adapted to film in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 classic Schindler’s List.
The museum, which will host an exhibition about Schindler’s life, is due to open in 2019.