German industrialist Oskar Schindler has become one of the most well-known figures in Holocaust history. Born in Moravia (today the Czech Republic) to a Catholic family, Schindler inherited a business when he came of age. Unfortunately, he was a bad businessman, and not without his vices. And so between drinking and womanizing, Schindler presided over the demise of his family business. He was jobless by the mid-1930s. 

As the Nazis invaded Poland, Schindler joined the party, hoping to capitalize. His gregarious nature earned him many Gestapo contacts, which he shrewdly leveraged to purchase a local enamel factory. Next, he gathered the Jews in Krakow with any remaining wealth, and invited them to invest in the factory. In return, they would be spared from Nazi brutality while they worked. Thus, Schindler found both free capital and a cheap labor force. And true to his word, he clothed and fed his workers throughout the war years. They were never mistreated, but they also did not profit from the factory's success.

Schindler reaped great rewards from his strange enterprise, but the experience changed him. As the Nazis moved closer to 'The Final Solution', Schindler spent more and more of his earnings to protect his workers, who became known as "die Schindlerjuden" (the Schindler Jews). He built barracks near the factory to house them and a medical facility for their care. He bribed local Gestapo officers to spare them, and even funded Jewish burials for those who didn't survive. By the end, Schindler had exhausted his personal fortune to save some 1,300 Jews. 

After the war, Schindler was left with no prospects and received regular death threats from local ex-Nazis. Rejected for American citizenship due to his Nazi ties, he fled to Argentina with his wife, his mistress, and a small cadre of workers. There he again attempted a few failed businesses. But finally in 1958, Oskar Schindler returned to Germany alone. He lived his last days there in poverty, receiving a small pension from the German government while still estranged from the wife whom he never divorced.

In 1993, director Steven Spielberg's film Schindler's List received seven Academy Awards, and made Oskar Schindler a household name. Today, his legacy still leaves many questions unanswered. Although there remain doubts as to his motivations, most will agree that Schindler's conversion from a profit-driven opportunist to a rescuer is a lesson for all humanity.