SCMP Thursday, March 15, 2001
Schindler's List survivor dies
The Holocaust survivor whose personal experiences inspired the book Schindler's Ark and subsequent movie Schindler's List has died at the age of 87 after fulfilling his dream to make the German businessman who saved hundreds of Jews a household name.
Leopold "Paul" Page was one of some 1,200 Jews saved from the Nazi death camps by the efforts of industrialist Oskar Schindler, who gave them work and shelter in the relative comfort of a munitions factory.
After the war Page moved to New York and later Los Angeles, where he opened a leather goods store and set about trying to interest writers in the story of Schindler. It took 30 years before Australian novelist Thomas Keneally walked in to buy a briefcase, heard Page's story, looked through his photos, read a transcript of Schindler's moving speech to his Jewish workers at the end of the war and decided to write Schindler's Ark. The book, published in 1982, was dedicated to the "zeal and persistence" of Page. Eleven years later it was turned into director Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning movie.
"Were it not for Leopold Page, Oskar Schindler would only be known by those survivors of the shoah [Holocaust] whom he saved and by scholars and historians," Spielberg said. "As one of the 'Schindlerjuden', Paul Page persuaded author Thomas Keneally to write the book which, along with the film, created a beacon of tolerance for the whole world to see."
Page, born Leopold Pfefferberg in Krakow, Poland, was a teacher with a master's degree before the war broke out. He died on March 9 in the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills. He was number 173 on Schindler's list.