Schindler’s “Girl in Red Coat” Says She Was Haunted by Film
by Zach Pontz
The little girl who served as a symbol of horror in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film “Schindler’s List” says that for years she was haunted by the film.
Oliwia Dabrowska was three years old when she starred as the nameless girl in the red coat – the only color in the otherwise black-and-white film, and watched the film when she was 11, breaking a promise she made to director Spielberg to wait until she was 18.
She added: “I kept it secret for a long, long time, though at high school people got to know on the internet.
“People said: ‘It must be so important to you, you must know so much about the Holocaust.’ I was frustrated by it all.”
In the film, Dabrowska plays a ‘little girl in the red coat’ spotted by Nazi industrialist Oskar Schindler during the liquidation of the Krakow ghetto in 1943. Schindler sees her wander through the crowds, her coat a bright contrast to the sombre sea of black and white, and later spots her on a cart carrying dead bodies. The experience sparks Schindler’s drive to save Jews from the Holocaust.
Dobrowska has shed her regrets in time, but still harbors one: that she watched the film so young.
“I realized I had been part of something I could be proud of. Spielberg was right: I had to grow up to watch the film.”