Holocaust heroine Emilie Schindler dies in Berlin

Click to follow

Emilie Schindler, who helped her industrialist husband save hundreds of Jews from Nazi death camps – the story told to such effect in Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List – has died in a hospital near Berlin. She was 93.

Born in what is now the Czech Republic, she and her husband ran a factory in Poland during the War that became, in effect, a sanctuary for its slave labourers. Schindler's tenacious protection of them, and exploitation of top Nazis, saved 1,200 from the gas chambers. Today, more than 6,000 descendants of the "Schindlerjuden" live around the world, twice the number of Poland's present Jewish population.

But the woman whose heroism was recognised with an award by Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in 1993 had much of her later years blighted by poverty and recriminations – over her role in the rescue, and the way it was treated in the book and film – which, she claimed, failed to recognise her contribution – and over the way she was treated by her husband.

After the War, Schindler was deprived of his nationality and with Emilie and his mistress, fled to Argentina, where he started a farm. It was not a success and, in 1958, he left his wife behind and returned to Germany. He died in 1974 and was buried in Jerusalem. The Schindlers' campaign to save 1,200 Jews from the Holocaust went largely unnoticed until the movie came out.