Steven Spielberg explains why he chose to end Schindler’s List with cemetery scene

Filmmaker looked back at one of his best-known films in a recent interview

Nicole Vassell
Sunday 29 January 2023 16:26 GMT
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Steven Spielberg has clarified his choice to include a scene of Holocaust survivors visiting the grave of the real-life Oskar Schindler at the end of Schindler’s List.

The director’s 1993 film tells the true story of Oskar Schindler (played by Liam Neeson), an industrialist and member of the Nazi party who tries to save his Jewish employees after witnessing the persecution of Jews in occupied Poland during the Second World War.

Considered one of the best films of the 20th century, Schindler’s List won the Academy Award for Best Picture and remains revered for its important depiction of the Holocaust’s atrocities.

In a recent interview, Spielberg spoke about the poignant ending, in which the action moves to the present day and shows some of the real people helped by Schindler, and the actors portraying them, visiting Schindler’s grave in Jerusalem and placing stones upon it as a mark of respect.

“Holocaust denial was on the rise again – that was the entire reason I made the movie in 1993,” he told The Times in an interview published on Saturday (28 January).

“That ending was a way to verify that everything in the movie was true.”

After a sigh, which was noted by the interviewer, Spielberg continued: “I have never made a movie that so directly confronted a message I thought the world needed to hear.

“It had a vital message that is more important today than it even was in 1993, because antisemitism is so much worse today than it was when I made the film.”

Spielberg also credited Schindler’s List as a tribute to his parents as well as their shared Judaism and Jewish identity.

His most recent film, The Fabelmans, is a loose retelling of his childhood and the complicated relationship between his parents.

The Fabelmans is in UK cinemas now – find The Independent’s review here.

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