‘Schindler’s List’ typist dies at 91
Mietak Pemper, who was responsible for typing for Oskar Schindler the famous list that saved more than 1,000 Jews during the Holocaust, has died.
Pemper died June 7 in Augsburg, Germany, at the age of 91. Local officials ordered flags to be lowered to half-mast, the French news agency AFP reported.
During his imprisonment in the Plaszow concentration camp in Poland, Pemper served as the personal typist of Nazi commandant Amon Goeth from 1943 to 1944. At one point, he secretly read a letter to Goeth from Berlin announcing that all factories not producing goods for the Nazi war effort would be closed down.
Pemper was able to convince Schindler, a Nazi Party member who initially hoped to profit from the Germany's invasion of Poland, to switch his plant's focus from enamel production to anti-tank grenade rifles.
The typist then, at great personal risk, gave Schindler a typed list of more than 1,000 fellow prisoners who could work in the plant.
Schindler famously saved more than 1,200 lives through a mixture of work opportunities and bribes to Nazi officers.
Though he died in anonymity in 1974, Schindler's story was famously adapted by director Steven Spielberg in the 1993 film Schindler's List, which won seven Academy Awards.
Pemper served as a consultant on the film and in 2005 published his memoir, The Road to Rescue: The Untold Story of Schindler's List.
In the book, Pemper pondered what the world would have been like if there had been no war or Nazi extermination effort.
“Goeth would probably not have been a mass murderer, nor Schindler a saver of lives. It was only the extraordinary circumstances of war and the immense power granted to individual men that revealed the nature of these men to such an impressive and terrifying degree,” he wrote. “Fate had placed me between the two of them and it was like having an angel on one side and a demon on the other.”
Max Kleinman, executive vice president of United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ, said, “We mourn with great sadness the passing of Mietak Pemper, a little-known and unsung hero of the Holocaust. Without his courage, resourcefulness, and brilliance, Oskar Schindler would not have succeeded in saving the many Jews he did.”