Published May 10, 2010
NEW YORK -- An Argentine writer is trying to stop a memorabilia dealer from trying to sell what he says is one of few remaining copies of the document at the heart of the film "Schindler's List."
The document -- a roster of 801 Jewish workers whom German businessman Oskar Schindler employed to spare them from Nazi concentration camps during World War II -- is being offered for $2.2 million. Dealer Gary Zimet says the seller bought the 1945 document from relatives of Schindler's accountant.
But Marta Erika Rosenberg said in a lawsuit filed last week in a Manhattan court that the proposed sale would infringe on rights bequeathed to her by Oskar Schindler's widow, Emilie. She died in 2001.
Rosenberg, Emilie Schindler's biographer, says she inherited the widow's interest in the list. The document went through several revisions and eventually saved more than 1,000 Jews. A handful of other surviving copies are held in museums and archives.
The Buenos Aires-based Rosenberg wants proof that the copy Zimet is offering is genuine -- and wants to block the sale if it is.
"She's not interested in profit or fame," said her lawyer, John P. Gleason. Her goal, he said, is "to preserve, protect and correct the historical record."
Zimet called Rosenberg's claims baseless, saying the document was properly obtained through channels independent of Emilie Schindler.
"The list is indisputably authentic, and she has no right to it," said Zimet, who declined to identify the seller. His Washingtonville, New York-based business, M.I.T. Memorabilia Inc., specializes in autographs, manuscripts and other historic documents.
Schindler's story was chronicled in the 1993 Steven Spielberg film "Schindler's List," which won best picture and other Academy Awards.