Steven Spielberg's classic film “Schindler's List” depicts the horrors of the Holocaust in unflinching detail, and for one of its young stars, that detail was once too haunting to handle.
Oliwia Dabrowska, who portrayed Red Genia, often referred to solely as “the girl in the red coat,” was one of the most iconic parts of the movie, as the flash of color she wore was the only hue in the film other than black or white. Now 23, Dabrowska didn't understand the significance of the film when she was younger, and against Spielberg's advice that she wait until she was 18, she watched the movie for the first time at age 11.
“It was too horrible,” Dabrowska told UK newspaper The Times. “I could not understand much, but I was sure that I didn't want to watch ever again in my life.”
A native of Krakow, Poland, where the film is set, Dabrowska said that over the years, she was ashamed and angry when others would ask her about the role, and resented her parents for agreeing to let her appear in the film at all.
“People said: 'It must be so important to you, you must know so much about the Holocaust,'” she recalled. “I was frustrated by it all.”
But eventually, Dabrowska grew old enough to realize the importance of “Schindler's List,” and now values her involvement in the production.
“I had been part of something I could be proud of,” she said.
A 20th anniversary limited edition DVD and Blu-ray version of “Schindler's List” was released this week.