The name Oliwia Dabrowska holds little meaning to film buffs, but the 23-year-old's first movie role was quite significant. Dabrowska played "Red Genia" or the "girl in the red coat" in Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List."
With Spielberg's somber Oscar winner celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2013, the Times UK (via TheWrap) spoke to Dabrowska, who is now a university student living in Krakow, Poland, the site of her famous screen debut.
"I was ashamed of being in the movie and angry with my mother and father when they told anyone about the part," Dabrowska said. "People said: 'It must be so important to you, you must know so much about the Holocaust.' I was frustrated by it all." Dabrowska said watching "Schindler's List" as an 11-year-old was "horrible" and the experience made her not want to ever see the film again. That changed as she grew up, however, as Dabrowska said she now understood that "Schindler's List" was something to be "proud of."
Dabrowska's "red coat girl" has been the subject of much discussion and interpretation since "Schindler's List" was released in 1993. The character bore surface similarities to Holocaust survivor Roma Ligocka, who was known for her red coat in the Krakow Ghetto, and wrote a memoir about her experiences. (Unlike Ligocka, Dabrowska's "red coat girl" died in "Schindler's List.") Spielberg himself has said the significance of the red coat, the only splash of color in the black-and-white film, has more to do with reminding viewers of the way citizens of the world allowed the Holocaust to happen:
"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."
For more on Dabrowska, head over to the Times.