She played a small but important role in one of the great heroic stories to emerge from the Holocaust.
Mimi Reinhard, an Austrian Jew who typed the names of more than 1,000 Jews for Oskar Schindler—the Nazi intelligence officer and war profiteer who would go on to help them escape Nazi execution—has died aged 107. Born on January 15, 1915, in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, as Carmen Koppel, Reinhard was held prisoner at a concentration camp near Krakow, Poland, during World War II in 1944. According to The New York Times, although she wasn't much of a typist, she knew shorthand and spoke flawless German, leading to her being recruited for a job in the camp's administrative office by Schindler.
Mimi Reinhard, a secretary at a Nazi labor camp in World War II who typed up Schindler’s list, has died at 107. She added her own name to the list of 1,100 Jews who would be not be sent the gas chambers. https://t.co/S1Sp6oEVvW— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 13, 2022
It was there that she went on to play a small but important role in one of the great heroic stories to emerge from the Holocaust, one in which the lives of more than 1,000 Jewish prisoners—including hers—were saved from near-certain death. Schindler, who ran an enamelware factory near Krakow, initially exploited the Jews as a source of cheap labor. However, as he witnessed the horrors of the murderous Nazi regime, he reportedly risked his life and fortune to become their protector. Schindler's acts of subterfuge included creating a list of workers whom he deemed "essential" for the Nazi war effort but in reality, were those he wanted to spare from all but certain annihilation.
Sigh. The lady who typed (the actual) Schindler's List has passed, aged 107https://t.co/p6o4Vnrk1j— Rob Fardon (@robfardon) April 10, 2022
The now-famous Schindler's list—which included children, women, a girl dying of cancer, rabbis, friends of his and anyone else whose name he could remember—started with about 400 names. He recruited Reinhard to type up the names while visiting the Plaszow labor camp where she worked, and the list kept growing as he and others added more names. "It was very informal, and every day someone handed her more names, and the list had to be typed again and again," said Reinhard's son, Sasha Weitman. She even put her own name on the list and those of three friends, he added.
Room Rater In Memoriam. Mimi Reinhard has died. She was 107. May her memory be a blessing. https://t.co/2PDl79wmAS— Room Rater (@ratemyskyperoom) April 11, 2022
Reinhard, who never learned to type beyond using two fingers, produced the final clean manifest of names that would be presented to Nazi officials. Instead of being shipped to the gas chambers, the people listed were all sent to a Schindler munitions factory in an area of Czechoslovakia known as the Sudetenland at the time, where their lives were spared. Reinhard was 107 years old when she died on Friday in an assisted living facility in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv, Israel, her son revealed.
RIP wish I could say humans have learned from the horror of this experience, but sadly it doesn’t seem so 💔— Maxamina Muro 🇺🇦 (@therealmaxmuro) April 13, 2022
Mimi Reinhard, Who Typed Up Schindler’s List, Dies at 107 https://t.co/ojseDTgRpu
The story of the so-called Schindler Jews—the Schindlerjuden—was made public in 1982, when the Australian author Thomas Keneally published a meticulously researched novel, "Schindler’s Ark," which appeared in the United States as "Schindler's List." The saga reached even more people in 1993 through the much-acclaimed Steven Spielberg movie by the same name, which won seven Academy Awards, including best picture. Although Reinhard was never secretive about her role, it did not come to light publicly until 2007 when the then-92-year-old moved to Israel from New York (where she had settled after the war) and told of her Schindler connection to the Jewish Agency for Israel. She became an instant celebrity when she landed in Israel, where she was mobbed by the news media.
Mimi Reinhard, the secretary who drew up Schindler's List has died at the age of 107. This list is the reason more than 1,300 Jews were saved from Auschwitz by Oskar Schindler. Whoever saves one life saves the world entire. pic.twitter.com/veC0GSfswO— The Sting (@TSting18) April 12, 2022
In addition to her son, Reinhard is survived by three granddaughters, nine great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. Speaking to Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz in 2007, she revealed the two sides of Schindler she witnessed. "He was no angel," she said. "We knew that he was an SS man; he was a member of the highest ranks. They went out drinking together at night, but apparently he could not stand to see what they were doing to us... I saw a man who was risking his life all the time for what he was doing."