By now, most people are aware that one of Oskar Schindler’s original lists of Jews whom he would ultimately save from the concentration camps is being auctioned on eBay for a minimum bid of $3 million.
But there is another Schindler’s list for sale on eBay as well: Roger Schindler’s list, a simple “to-do” list, scribbled on the back of a laundry ticket.
Roger Schindler’s list might seem mundane — he needs to buy milk and eggs and arrange for an eye exam — but 100 percent of the proceeds of the sale of his list will go to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital for children.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Roger’s list had garnered 20 bids, and its price was up to $51.00, which pleased its seller, Siusan O’Rourke, an Irish-Catholic musician from Saginaw, Mich., who grew up in the 1960s in Brooklyn, N.Y., and who was “shocked” to see the real Schindler’s list being auctioned to the highest bidder.
“I grew up in neighborhoods filled with folks that barely survived the Holocaust and had lost many of their family members,” she said. “I was sickened that such a list of names would be owned, bought and sold, and I hope my small gesture here will send a message that will somehow make it better for others that also feel sickened by it.”
A 10-year eBay veteran who mostly sells vintage items, O’Rourke invented Roger and his list to make a point.
“It appalls me,” she said. “I can’t believe that people don’t have a line in the sand anymore.”
Having grown up with Holocaust survivors in Brooklyn, and hearing the stories of how their families were forever changed and affected, she was astonished that someone could seek monetary gain from a document that preserved the names of those who suffered through the anguish and loss and devastation inflicted by the Nazis.
“I just had such a sinking feeling about the names being sold,” she said. “And people are being able to profit by it. In Brooklyn, a lot of the older generation had been through the Holocaust. You’d see their tattoos. That was a common thing for us as kids. The baker down the street had lost his wife and his two children. It’s horrifying to see that as a child.”
O’Rourke routinely donates a portion of her eBay sales to various charities, which is easy to do on the site, she said. But all proceeds from the sale of Roger Schindler’s list will go to St. Jude’s.
“One hundred percent will be going to kids fighting for their lives,” she said. “Maybe people will realize that’s what Oskar Schindler’s experience should be about. He gave us that legacy to do for others, not to make money on what we could do for others. This list … should be kept and archived by a museum for future generations to view and remember.”
O’Rourke posted her list “immediately” after Oskar Schindler’s list was posted to the site.
The Oskar Schindler list on eBay is the only one ever to be sold on an open market, according to its description on eBay. The 14-page list, dated April 18, 1945, emanates from the family of Itzhak Stern, Schindler’s accountant and right-hand man. It lists 801 male names, and “is guaranteed authentic.”
Although O’Rourke was unsure how her list would be received, she said she has only gotten positive responses.
“It’s as sensitive a subject as I can ever imagine anything can be,” she said. “I did this not to make a joke, but to point out that some things should truly be revered, no matter what the cost.”
(Toby Tabachnick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)