Novelist Behind The Story of “Schindler’s List” To Speak In Brno This Friday

Meeting Brno is presenting a talk with the novelist Thomas Keneally on Friday, 10 March. Photo credit: Thomas Keneally.

Brno, March 6 (BD) – Australian novelist Thomas Keneally will give a talk at 6pm this Friday, 10 March, at the Schrott Gallery, followed by a screening of “Schindler’s List”. This is the first opportunity for a Czech audience to meet Keneally, who wrote the novel “Schindler’s Ark”, on which the movie adaptation is based.

Keneally’s 1982 novel won the prestigious Man Booker Prize and became the subject of Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning film. He is coming to Brno for the first time ever for a discussion organised by the Meeting Brno event series. The discussion will be led by Daniel Low-Beer, whose foundation is now building a memorial to Schindler’s Ark and the Löw-Beer textile factory on the site of the former factory near Brno.

The factory where Oskar Schindler saved 1,200 lives was owned by the Löw-Beer family. “The Löw-Beer factory is one of the most important places in the book,” said Daniel Löw-Beer. The family operated it until 1938, when they had to flee abroad due to the rise of Nazism. In 1944, whoever was on ‘Schindler’s List’ was sent to the camp in Brno, avoiding certain death in Nazi extermination camps. The story became known worldwide through Keneally’s book ‘Schindler’s Ark’ and the 1993 film adaptation, ‘Schindler’s List’.

Photo credit: Girl in the red coat … Oliwia Dabrowska in the 1993 film Schindler’s List. Photograph: Cinetext Bildarchiv/Allstar/Universal.

According to Petr Kalousek, director of the festival and member of the board of the Archa Foundation, the factory came back into the hands of the Löw-Beer family in 2018. Daniel Low-Beer, the grandson of the last pre-war owner of the factory, founded the Archa Foundation with the Löw-Beer and Oskar Schindler families. The aim of the foundation is to use the ruins of the former factory to create a memorial and a dignified place where people can remember or learn more about this famous story.

As a small surprise for Thomas Keneally, the organisers are also planning the personal participation of the “girl in the red coat,” a character from one of the film’s most iconic scenes.

“We managed to track down Olivia Bonarek Dabrowska, who as a three-year-old played the ‘only colour character’ in the film. We are happy that this will happen at our event, 30 years after the film was created,” explained Kalousek.

The program will be held in English and Czech, with simultaneous translation.

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