Now Schindler's ark looks for its own saviour: Czech town pins its hopes on restoration of the ruined factory immortalised in the Oscar-winning film

The Czech-German industrialist sheltered 1,200 Jewish labourers from the Holocaust in his Brnenec factory for seven months until they were liberated in 1945

The windows in the red-brick buildings are smashed, the walls are damp-ridden and most of the doors have been torn off. The Czech factory where the Second World War hero Oskar Schindler helped 1,200 Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust looks as if it has been forgotten since 1945.

However, residents in the eastern Czech town of Brnenec, where the former factory is located, are planning to put the building on the market. They want the complex to be either used once again for manufacturing or turned into a Holocaust museum recalling Schindler's feat for posterity.

Schindler, a Czech-German industrialist, sheltered 1,200 Jewish labourers from the Holocaust in his Brnenec factory for seven months until they were liberated in 1945. The story featured in Steven Spielberg's 1993 film Schindler's List. Spielberg visited the factory, but the film was made elsewhere.

Brnenec's mayor, Blahoslav Kaspar, insists that Schindler's former complex has "great potential", now that the legal disputes surrounding it are close to being resolved. He says that the town would be prepared to offer the factory site for a nominal sum to an investor with the resources to develop the complex.

The idea of turning the site into a Holocaust memorial has been welcomed by the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic. "It is a great idea," Thomas Kraus, director of the organisation, said. "The museum should have been opened when the Schindler film was released. This is our last chance."

Liam Neeson in the film Schindler’s List Liam Neeson in the film Schindler’s List Mr Kraus said that the Czech Republic's former communist regime had largely ignored the country's Jewish heritage. "Few Czechs knew who Schindler was until the film came out. We are running out of Holocaust survivors; material memorials, such as his factory, are the only things left to bear testimony," he added.

Schindler ran an enamelware factory in the Polish city of Krakow during the Second World War. As the Soviet Red Army advanced towards Poland in 1944 he relocated its Jewish workforce to Brnenec, 120 miles east of Prague. The industrialist helped many of his workers to escape being sent to their deaths in Auschwitz by bribing his Nazi overseers and telling them that his workers were vital skilled labourers.

After 1945, wanted as a war criminal because of his Nazi party membership, Schindler fled to West Germany and then South America, where he ran a string of unsuccessful businesses. Returning to West Germany in the late 1950s, impoverished and unrecognised, he was supported by the Jews he had helped. He died in 1974, aged 66. His Brnenec factory was nationalised by Czechoslovakia's communist regime in 1948. It was privatised after 1989 and went bankrupt in 2004.

Schindler's decaying factory still contains the house that he lived in, but most of the complex faces imminent ruin. The roofs are leaking and much of the compound is polluted with discarded textile dyes and poisons. The town's mayor estimates that the clean-up could cost up to €1.5m (£1.2m).

"It is a tragedy for the town and the whole region," Mr Kaspar told Businessweek magazine. "It has become a huge burden for us. We need an investor to clean it up and create jobs for local people."

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?