by dean adams
Oskar Schindler, the capitalist who
saved several thousand Jewish WWII Holocaust victims from a certain death
by purchasing their salvation from the Nazi war party, is enjoying a much
deserved celebration of his life and deeds during the second world war,
through the Academy Award winning film by Steven Spielberg and a best selling
book by Thomas Kenealy.
In addition to his esteemed work
with Jewish workers in his factories, Schindler is believed to have been
an auto and motorcycle racing buff and before his fire-sale to raise cash
to finance the protection of his Jewish workers, Schindler had a fine automobile
A savior, and in many persons' eyes,
a prospect for sainthood, Schindler is also a kindred soul to many racing
enthusiasts, as he roadraced motorcycles in his youth.
As detailed in the biography of Schindler's
life by Keneally, Schindler's adolescence was filled with the joys of motorcycling
in his native Czechoslovakia. The book states that Schindler "..was one
of those boys for whom a motorcycle is the most compelling model of the
universe." Schindler rode a variety of European machines including a red
Galloni 500, one of only a few in Europe as very few were exported out
During 1928, just before Oskar Schindler
would embark upon the circumstances that later would force him to choose
between a pampered life of an aristocratic European businessman or to barter
all of his earthly possessions and cash in exchange for the lives of his
workers, Schindler spent a season racing in an early form of FIM roadracing.
He rode a taut little Moto Guzzi 250, of which there were only four produced.
Racing against factory teams in the
mountains of Morovia and the Altvater circuit, Schindler nearly beat the
reigning German champion Walfried Winkler in one contest: on what he thought
was the final lap of their race Schindler crossed the finish line and let
off the throttle, only to be passed by the pack as there remained one lap
in the race. Keneally's book makes reference to the factory teams from
Moto Guzzi and BMW perhaps being interested in Schindler as a member of
their factory teams.
Obviously Schindler was a talented
racer, and that makes him even more remarkable to us all.
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