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Mimi Reinhardt, dies at 107

  • Oskar Schindler
    Oskar Schindler

Mimi Reinhardt, who compiled lists of names for German industrialist Oskar Schindler to help Jews during the Holocaust, has died aged 107.  She wasn’t much of a typist, but she knew shorthand and spoke flawless German. And so Mimi Reinhardt, an Austrian Jew who was being held in a Nazi labor camp near Krakow, Poland, during World War II, was given an office job. In that capacity, she would play a small but important role in one of the great heroic stories to emerge from the Holocaust, one in which the Nazis were outwitted and the lives of more than 1.100 Jews, including hers, were saved.

The unlikely hero was Oskar Schindler, the Nazi intelligence officer and war profiteer who ran an enamelware factory near Krakow. A womanizer and heavy drinker who was often bribing the German authorities to have his way, he initially exploited the Jews as a source of cheap labor. But as he witnessed the horrors of the murderous Nazi regime, he risked his life and his fortune to become their protector.

His acts of subterfuge included creating a list of workers whom he deemed “essential” for the Nazi war effort. In reality, these were Jews whom he wanted to spare from all but certain annihilation. The list of “workers” included children, women, a girl dying of cancer, rabbis, friends of his and anyone else whose name he could remember.

His list started with about 400 names. While visiting the Plaszow labor camp, where Mrs. reinhardt worked, he would ask her to type up the list, which kept growing as he and others added more names.

“It was very informal, and every day someone handed her more names, and the list had to be typed again and again,” her son, Sasha Weitman, said in a phone interview on Tuesday from Tel Aviv. She even put her own name on the list and those of three friends, her son said not two friends, as has been widely reported.

It was Mrs. Reinhardt, who never learned to type beyond using two fingers, who produced the final clean manifest of names that would be presented to Nazi officials. Instead of being shipped to the gas chambers, the people listed were all sent to a Schindler munitions factory in the area of Czechoslovakia then known as the Sudetenland, where their lives were spared. Mrs. Reinhardt was 107 when she died on Friday in an assisted living facility in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv, Mr. Weitman said.

Source: The New York Times and

Copyright: World Jewish Congress

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Personal view or conclusion on this post

We owe Ms Reinhardt our respect and deepest thank you. May she rest in peace. Article partially by Katharine Q. Seelye of the New York Times.