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Rare Schindler documents and factory construction plans up for sale at RR Auction
Extremely rare and historically important collection of Oskar Schindler signed documents.

By: Robert Macpherson

NEW YORK (AFP).- Rare documents that a historian says fill in some major gaps in the story of Holocaust hero Oskar Schindler have gone up for auction online.

New Hampshire auctioneers RR Auction said Wednesday the items -- including blueprints for an expansion of Schindler's factory in Poland -- are available for bidding through August 14.

The sale comes on the heels of the failure by a Los Angeles-based auctioneer to find any bidders for an original Schindler's List at a staggering $3 million.

Schindler is credited with saving the lives of some 1,200 Jews employed in his factories during World War II. He died in anonymity in Germany in 1974 at the age of 66.

The industrialist's story was the focal point of director Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning film "Schindler's List" in 1993.

Billy Livingston of RR Auction told AFP that the latest documents had been consigned to his firm -- which specializes in historic documents -- by a private collector in California.

One lot includes detailed blueprints for an expansion to Schindler's enamelware factory in Poland's second city Krakow that employed more than 1,000 Jews from a nearby concentration camp.

Dating back to 1943, and bearing the logo of German engineering firm Siemens, the plans refer to living quarters where Schindler housed his Jewish workers safe from the atrocities of the Plaszow camp.

"This is really the starting point of Schindler saving the Jews," Holocaust historian David Crowe of Elon University in Greensboro, North Carolina, told AFP.

Another document is a August 1944 letter of introduction, signed in blue pencil by Schindler, for a Polish employee arranging for the transfer of the Krakow factory to Brunnlitz, known today as Brnenec in the Czech Republic.

Crowe said the letter is valuable evidence that Schindler got top-level permission from Nazi German officials to relocate his operations -- and, in turn, his Jewish workers -- sooner than previously thought.

By transferring his Jewish work force en masse to the new munitions factory, Schindler is credited with saving them from certain death in Adolf Hitler's gas chambers.

Together, the documents "fill in really important gaps in the Schindler story," said Crowe, author of "Oskar Schindler: The Untold Account of His Life, Wartime Activities, and the True Story Behind the List," who assisted RR Auction in putting the papers into historical context.

Last month, a 14-page typewritten list bearing the names of 801 of Schindler's employees -- thought to be the only one in private hands -- went on sale on eBay with an opening price of $3 million, but it attracted no bidders.

The auctioneer handling it, Eric Gazin, told AFP afterward that he was in "active discussions" with potential buyers.

Other copies of the list belong to museums in Israel and the United States.

On the web:

© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse

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