When Steven Spielberg went to Krakow, Poland, to create a film based on Schindler's List
, the best-selling book about the rescue of 1,200 Jews by German businessman Oskar Schindler during the Holocaust, he tried to include all the fascinating stories about that remarkable event. But even a feature film could not contain them all, and Palowski, a renowned Polish journalist, attempts to include the remainder here. He interviews survivors and describes the ordeal of filming on location under adverse conditions. Reenacting this sad and unusual chapter of history created many meaningful events. A woman who was tormented by concentration camp commander Amon Goeth almost fainted after seeing actor Ralph Fiennes in costume. Other survivors tell Palowski their memories from the war as the production moves take by take through the streets and houses of the old Jewish ghetto. It is a fascinating account but suffers from a poor, often awkward translation. Those who enjoyed the film will find this book very interesting. Ted Leventhal
From Kirkus Reviews
Palowski is a veteran Polish journalist who served as an informal guide and interpreter for Steven Spielberg during the making of Schindler's List; he kept a diary of sorts, and he now offers a distillation of its contents. This book was written originally for a Polish audience and published there before Spielberg's film was released in Poland. It now appears here in a somewhat awkward translation (``But I am asking him to stop avoiding the issue of my statement''). As a TV and print journalist, Palowski has covered the top echelon of the Polish film industry for many years; he was one of the many people who pushed to bring the filming of Schindler's List to the country in which many of the events took place, and he spent some time with Spielberg before filming began. He may be a battle-hardened reporter, but when he finds himself surrounded by the likes of Spielberg, Ben Kingsley, George Lucas, and other Hollywood heavyweights, he is reduced to Jell-O. Palowski is close friends with the man whose story triggered Thomas Keneally's interest in Schindler's Jews, an LA businessman named Poldek Page, and when he is recounting the stories of Page and other Holocaust survivors, this book is surefooted and fresh. But mostly this slender volume recounts the day-to-day trivia of Spielberg's filming in Krakow and its vicinity, as seen from something of a distance. The book's tone is surprisingly naive, given the author's familiarity with the entertainment industry, and that's what gives it a certain dopey charm, but there's little here that will enlighten those interested in filmmaking, the Holocaust, or Spielberg. (photos, not seen) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.