‘Schindler’s List’ a Focus of Attention in March 1994

March 18, 1994 Jewish Exponent. Photo by Andy Gotlieb

Midway through March of 1994, Steven Spielberg and his seminal film “Schindler’s List” were the center of attention for much of the Jewish community.

Jews have long played a key role in Hollywood, but that year was different because the upcoming 66th Academy Awards were sure to focus heavily on Spielberg’s Holocaust film, which was nominated for 12 Oscars. It went on to win seven, including for best picture and best director.

And the March 18. 1994 Jewish Exponent was on top of the story, featuring a large cover photo of the legendary director, as well as a two-page interview with Spielberg, who lived in Haddonfield, New Jersey, between the ages of 3-7.

At the top, excluding “The Color Purple,” Spielberg was best known for epics popcorn blockbusters such as “Jaws,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and “Jurassic Park.”

For the first time, Spielberg was tapping into his Jewish roots.

“The film is certainly turning people’s attention to the Holocaust in every country, which is always good news,” he said.

March 18, 1994 interview with Steven Spielberg. Photo by Andy Gotlieb

Throughout the lengthy interview, Spielberg discusses his Jewish background, including the antisemitism he faced in high school in California. That and other trauma related to his heritage would later find its way into his 2022 coming-of-age drama “The Fabelmans.”
Toward the end of the interview, Spielberg discloses a new project he was pursuing.

“I’m raising money — and financing part of it myself — for a 10-year project in which I’ll be doing and an oral and video history of the 350,000 survivors in the world,” he said.
That project turned into what is now known as the USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education. Today that foundation houses more than 112,000 hours of testimony and includes interviews with survivors and witnesses to other genocides around the world.

Aside from the “Schindler’s List” coverage, the Exponent that week featured numerous articles about Passover, which was less than two weeks away. Aside from numerous recipes, there were stories about how preparation can make a seder more relevant, information about Pesach food drives and details about Passover-related events at local JCCs.


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