A memoir of Tom’s journey around the world to discover the complete story of Oskar Schindler.
In 1980 Tom Keneally was in Beverley Hills returning from the Sorrento film festival where The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith had been showing. Looking for a new briefcase, Tom meets the Polish-Jewish Leopold Pfefferberg Page aka Poldek and his life for the next few years is taken over by this charismatic and driven man and the story he wants shared. "It's a story for you, I swear," he says to Tom. The story is of course that of 'The all-drinking, all-screwing, all black-marketeering Nazi. But to me he was Jesus Christ, Oskar Schindler". And Poldek shared with Tom the story of SCHINDLER'S ARK which went on to win the Booker Prize and ultimately to become the Oscar award-winning film SCHINDLER'S LIST.
Schindler, the ruined Catholic hedonist, had something ambiguous about him that appealled to the ex-seminarian Tom Keneally who still struggled with his own Catholicism and his humanist view of the world. Oskar showed that virtue, regardless of race, creed or religion, emerged where it would. Tom was a small child during WWII and these memories, along with the appeal of Schindler and Poldek's insistence, influenced him to write the book SCHINDLER'S ARK. Oskar and his Jews reduced the Holocaust - an almost untellable story in its scope and devastation - to an understandable human scale. SEARCHING FOR SCHINDLER is very much Tom's journey, he reflects on his early days as a writer with quite a bit of success - but no confidence - and how this book, the people he met, and the film it became, changed his life. From his Sydney home, he tracked down the main player's in Poldek and Schindler's story. Tom and Poldek travelled across the US, Germany, Israel, Austria and Poland interviewing survivors and discovering extraordinary stories.
SCHINDLER'S ARK took a huge toll on Tom, and his family, he had never been so overwhelmed by the writing of a story. It forced him to think about Australians and their attitudes to the Holocaust, to think about the Israel / Palestine situation and about families. Not ready to give up the story of Schindler and his Jews after the enormous success of the book, Tom is there for the film adaptation and on set for the filming. Filled with stories of Steven Spielberg, Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes and many other well-known and strong characters SEARCHING FOR SCHINDLER gives Tom Keneally scope to show the wonderful, warm, thinking, compassionate and very funny man that he is.
“Mila Page and family”
““I am sure that Tom Keneally is incapable of writing a dull book. This memoir, listed as his 38th publication, is no exception.””
“Andrew Riemer, The Sydney Morning Herald”
““Coming to the end of a book by Tom Keneally, whether fiction or non-fiction, is a bit like stepping from a warm bath into the chill air of an unheated bathroom. In that moment before you wrap the towel around you, the urge to step back into the still warm water is overwhelming. “”
“Elspeth Sandys, the New Zealand Listener”
““Abounds in amusing and poignant anecdotes.””
“The New York Times”
““Had I read SEARCHING FOR SCHINDLER before making the film, I may have made it an hour longer. I owe you so much. The world owes you more.””
““I stayed up until 4 in the morning, reading [Tom’s memoir]. It is a wonderful book, as usual Thomas writing is beautiful. It also brought back many memories of ‘Schindler years’, as well as a glimpse into other parts of Tom’s life. I am sure that you know that Thomas has a very special place in the hearts of our family. Besides being such a great writer, he is also a wonderful and caring human being.””
APA Book Design Awards
Shortlisted • 2008 • APA Book Design Awards (Graphic Design)