Oskar Schindler is a vain, glorious and greedy German businessman who becomes unlikely humanitarian amid the barbaric Nazi reign when he feels compelled to turn his factory into a refuge for Jews. Based on the true story of Oskar Schindler who managed to save about 1100 Jews from being gassed at the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Though the film is primarily shot in black-and-white, red is used to distinguish a little girl in a coat. Later in the film, she is seen dead. This character is based on Roma Ligocka, who was well known in the Warsaw Ghetto for her red coat. Ligocka in fact survived the Holocaust and, after the film was released, published a novel in 2000 entitled The Girl in the Red Coat: A Memoir.
According to Andy Patrizio of IGN, the girl in the red coat is used to indicate that Schindler has changed: "Spielberg put a twist on her [Ligocka's] story, turning her into one more pile on the cart of corpses to be incinerated. The look on Schindler's face is unmistakable. Minutes earlier, he saw the ash and soot of burning corpses piling up on his car as just an annoyance." Andre Caron wondered whether it was done "to symbolize innocence, hope or the red blood of the Jewish people being sacrificed in the horror of the Holocaust?" Spielberg himself has explained that he only followed the novel, and his interpretation was that
"America and Russia and England all knew about the Holocaust when it was happening, and yet we did nothing about it. We didn’t assign any of our forces to stopping the march toward death, the inexorable march toward death. It was a large bloodstain, primary red color on everyone’s radar, but no one did anything about it. And that’s why I wanted to bring the color red in."