11. Schindler protected wives and families of his workers
By 1943 and in 1944, during the compilation of the lists, Oskar Schindler was overtly protecting those Jewish workers he employed and their families as far as possible. He claimed that wives and children were essential to the well-being of his workers and in many instances counted them by name as employees. In July 1944, his employment rolls included 1,750 workers, about 1,000 of them Jewish. He relied on his contacts to aid him, chief among them Wilhelm Canaris, the head of the Abwehr. On July 20 an assassination plot against Hitler and subsequently attempted coup failed, and investigations into activities subversive to Hitler and the Nazis intensified. That fall Schindler began relocating his factory and the workers whose names had been listed by Pemper, and approved by the SS, to Brunnlitz in the Sudetenland.
In October of 1944, a train containing 700 of Schindler’s male workers was dispatched to the concentration camp at Gross-Rosen. There they were held for a week before continuing on to Brunnlitz. At the same time, 300 women and girls were sent to Auschwitz. When Schindler discovered that the women had been sent to the death camp he resorted to the officials he had always used in Germany, only to find that their waning influence with the Gestapo and SS made them of little use. It took direct bribery, using black market goods and diamonds, to gain the release of the women (German currency has declined in value to the point of worthlessness in the collapsing Reich). After about a month the women were sent to Brunnlitz. As 1944 came to an end, Schindler’s protection of the Jews he employed was becoming known to Nazi officials at the highest levels.