Girl in red
Perhaps the most moving image in Steven Spielberg's epicfilm "Schindler's List"
is the little girl in the red coat, the only color image in the three-hour black and white film. However, most people do not know that this image is based upon a true story, a story told at the trial of Adolf Eichmann
In the PBS documentary, "The Trial of Adolf Eichmann," this image loses none of its impact when the actual story is told by Assistant Prosecutor and later Supreme Court Judge, Gavriel Bach, in an interview which appears in the program. When asked if there was any moment in the trial that affected him more than any other, this is the moment he describes.
Bach was questioning Dr. Martin Földi, a survivor of Auschwitz
, about the selection process at the train station in the shadows of the famous "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign at Auschwitz. Földi described how he and a son went to the right while a daughter and his wife went to the left. His little daughter wore the red coat. When an SS officer sent the son to join the mother and daughter, Földi describes his panic. How would the boy, only twelve, find them among the thousands of people there? But then he realized the red coat would be like a beacon for the boy to join his mother and sister.
He then ends his testimony with the chilling phrase, "I never saw them again."
While telling the story, thirty-five years after the incident, Judge Bach wells up with emotion. As Dr. Földi recounted the incident, Bach became frozen and unable to continue. All he could do was think about his own daughter who he had by chance just bought a red coat.
He then adds that to this day he can be at the theater or a restaurant and he will feel his heart beating faster when he sees a little girl in a red coat ...
Over one million children under the age of sixteen died in the Holocaust
- the little girl in red was one of them ...