Quote 5

Stern:   “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.”

In one of the last scenes in the film, as Schindler prepares to flee from the Allies, the Schindlerjuden give Schindler a gold ring made from gold fillings, engraved with the above quotation from the Talmud, the book of Jewish law. After the Allied victory, Schindler is a hunted war criminal. When the workers hear he must flee, they make him the ring as a small token of their appreciation, knowing that there is no way to repay the gift of life. Stern presents the ring to Schindler, telling him the quotation is from the Talmud. The Jews want Schindler to know that by saving them, he has saved humanity.

The quotation supports the theme that one man can make a difference. If even one man shows humanity to another, he demonstrates the continuing existence of humanity in society—something utterly void in the actions of the Nazis during the Holocaust. For society to continue, selflessness and kindness must exist: as long as one good person exists, good still exists in the world. The Schindlerjuden want Schindler to have a constant reminder of the goodness in him and understand that he now needs their help. They give him, with the ring, a signed statement swearing to his good actions, hoping to help if the Allies capture him. These eight words—one of the tag lines for the film in its marketing—capture the sentiments of the entire film.