Book Review: Searching For Schindler, Thomas Keneally

Thomas Keneally was born in Australia in 1935 and is the author of best-selling novel ‘Schindler’s Ark’ which won the Booker Prize in 1982, and was adapted into the Academy Award-winning film ‘Schindler’s List’ in 1993. Keneally has written twenty-seven other fictional works, nine non-fiction, is a playwright, an actor, and has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize no less than four times. ‘Searching for Schindler’ is his story.  

In 1980, returning home from the Sorrento film festival, Keneally walked into a Beverley Hills store, in search of a briefcase. This small act would change his life forever. The store’s owner was one Leopold ‘Poldek’ Pfefferberg, an effusive larger-than-life character who introduced Thomas to the story of Oskar Schindler, the womanising, heavy-drinking, con-man, who saved the lives of more than a thousand Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland.

‘Searching for Schindler’ is a memoir, of Keneally’s fascination with the story of Oskar, his subsequent journey around the world, and his interviews with Holocaust survivors. It is also an account of their extraordinary stories, and the toll it took on Thomas and his family. Finally, it is a tribute to Poldek, his passion, exuberant personality, and continued faith in Thomas and the completion of ‘Schindler’s Ark’. 

Keneally reflects on his early days as a writer, the publication of ‘Schindler’s Ark’, the Booker Prize, and the making of the legendary ‘Schindler’s List’. Written with compassion, honesty, and humour, ‘Searching for Schindler’ is a remarkable insight into the making of a modern classic. 

‘Searching For Schindler’ is published in hardback on 16th October 2008, priced £20.00

* Photograph of Oskar Schindler, credit unknown.