Main content

How can the most horrifying inhumanity be portrayed on screen? Paul Gambaccini on Steven Spielberg's struggle to bring the nightmarish reality of the Holocaust to millions.

Rena Finder was just 10 years old when she first came into contact with Oskar Schindler. "He would put his hand on my head and ask me, how are you little one?"
Finder is one of a handful of those who were on Schindler's List, still alive to share her story - which she does with Paul Gambaccini, as he tells the story behind the film "Schindler's List".

In 1982 Steven Spielberg was best known for directing films about sharks and aliens, in "Jaws" and "E.T.". When he read Thomas Keneally's Booker Prize winning novel about the life of the 'good Nazi', who saved 1,300 Jews from the gas chambers in Auschwitz, he was determined to see the film made. But he wasn't even sure if he was the director to do it.

It would be ten years until he found himself filming in Poland, outside the death camp gates, with extras dressed in striped prisoner uniforms, acting alongside the almost unknown British actors Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson and Caroline Goodall.

With 12 nominations in 1993, the film won 7 Oscars, including cinematography for Janusz Kaminski, and art direction for Allan Starski - two of the Polish Crew - who recall their confrontations with the evils that happened in their homeland, whilst shooting the movie.

For Spielberg, it won him Best Director and Best Picture for the first time.

Producer: Sara Jane Hall.

Available now

30 minutes

Last on

Sat 4 Mar 2017 10:30