By any interpretation of Judeo-Christian morality, Oskar Schindler was a bad man. Keneally puts it a little bit more delicately when he says Oskar "was not a virtuous young man in the customary sense." He had a wife on whom he cheated regularly with his mistress in Cracow, his secretary, and any woman who would have him for the night. He also was quite the drinker. Keneally at one point even refers to his "heroic liver" that allows him to withstand as much alcohol as he consumes. Additionally, Schindler's inflated pride led him to incredible displays of excess with his wealth and a misperception of his own intelligence. His associate Itzhak Stern notes multiple times that Oskar greatly enjoyed speaking at length on subject such as comparative religion, where he did not have much knowledge. Finally, Oskar had never shown any affinity toward Jews in his past that would indicate his desire to save them. Keneally laments on page thirty-three that there should be some story about Oskar saving a Jew from being bullied in his youth for the sake of the narrative. No such story exists. In 1939, Oskar Schindler was nothing more that a selfish, ambitious industrialist who nobody--probably including himself--would have expected to be viewed as "a minor god of deliverance" merely six years later.
This brings us to our second point about Schindler as a leader: he was able to maintain a demeanor that was accessible and genuine enough to prove to people that he cared about them. Although he used this ability sincerely to uplift the Jews, Oskar could feign his care for a person like Goeth. In the scene where Oskar and Amon are drinking together in Goeth's villa, Schindler attempts to influence his companion to show some mercy to the Jews by playing to Amon's vanity. Schindler's savvy ability to read people and figure out what they want masks his shallow scholarly mind about which Stern complains. This skill of personal connection--real or feigned--is almost essential for the leadership that Oskar demonstrates. It allows him to identify those around him and have them do what he desires.
Oskar Schindler managed to get past all of his moral shortcomings and be one of the most inspiring leaders during the Second World War. His extraordinary circumstances afforded him the opportunity to exhibit a kind of leadership that would not have been possible to demonstrate during a time of peace. We are left to wonder: without the Holocaust would Oskar Schindler have ever become the great man that he is now remembered to be? I honestly don't think so. He was thrust into a situation where he saw something going on around him that he thought to be terribly wrong. To his credit, he acted out to stop it.
Finally, I want to slightly adjust the question mentioned at the beginning by thinking about how we judge a bad man who does such a good thing. In some cases such as the preacher or the politician, such moral indecencies would surely outweigh the good done because a moral component is expected of those figures. Nothing was expected of Oskar. He could have gone on with his business, made a fortune, and not batted an eye at the plight of the Jews. However, simply because nobody expected a thing from him, Schindler was regarded as "a provider of outrageous salvation." Even though he almost stumbled into his position as a savior figure for the persecuted people, that should take nothing away from the great personal sacrifices that he undertook in order to ensure their safety. Oskar Schindler has fairly earned his place in history as a great Jewish leader.