13. Schindler’s wife Emilie aided him in protecting his workers
The activities attributed to Oskar Schindler were in actuality a conspiracy involving many people, some of them unwittingly. In Nazi Germany under the eyes of the Gestapo and SS, many people participated in activities of defiance while distrusting their do-conspirators, unwilling to share too much information out of fear of being discovered through interrogation and torture. Pemper, Goldberg, Canaris, and several others were of this category. Another individual who willingly aided Schindler was his wife, Emilie, who also tolerated his womanizing and frequent bouts with drunkenness, which continued throughout the war. Years later Emilie revealed to her biographers her awareness of his philandering with secretaries and other women, including some of the Jewish women under his protection, but she nonetheless participated in the activities to protect his workers.
By January of 1945, after the collapse of the final German offensive on the Western Front, Emilie was protecting trainloads of Jews which had been bound for Auschwitz, sheltering them within the armaments factory at Brunnlitz. Workers deemed unfit by the Nazis at factories and mines were dispatched to the east to be killed in the winter of 1945, even as the Soviet armies began discovering the extermination camps. With Oskar, Emilie used black market goods, diamonds, gold, and other valuables to bribe officials as the Soviets approached, and in the collapse of the German government, Nazi officials hoping to escape Europe and the consequences of their crimes became more and more susceptible. At the same time Schindler was aware that as a former member of the Abwehr and a card-carrying member of the Nazi party, as well as an employer of slave labor, he would be subject to arrest by the Soviets and the western Allies. He chose the latter.