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The Schindler's List Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

Director Steven Spielberg had an interesting year in 1993, as he released both an epic dinosaur movie and a serious drama about the holocaust during that twelve-month span. While "Jurassic Park" is the one that cleaned up at the box office, it was "Schindler's List" that won Spielberg the Best Director and Best Picture Oscars. Spielberg had always balanced his "fun" movies with his "serious" movies, but having those two in theaters at almost the same time took that to a whole new level — although he would do it again in 1997 with the dual releases of "The Lost World" and "Amistad."

The cast of "Schindler's List" is absolutely massive, owing in part to the many scenes with large amounts of people in one place at the same time. It also contained a lot of actors who had already been around for quite some time, which is fitting as a lot of older people needed to be part of the story being told in the film. With that in mind, it's actually somewhat surprising how many people who appeared in the nearly 30-year-old film are still alive today, with several being in their 80s and 90s. 

But a few members of the "Schindler's List" cast have passed away since the release of the film, including some that many people might not even be aware of.

Jerzy Nowak

Though playing an investor in "Schindler's List" is arguably Jerzy Nowak's most high-visibility role, the Polish actor followed that up a year later with a part in the famed "Three Colors" trilogy — the "White" installment, specifically. The actor remained pretty busy right up to his 2013 death at age 89, appearing in the movie "August Sky: 63 Days of Glory" that same year.

Nowak's acting career dated back to the 1950s, and he soon found a niche making historical and war films. In 1975, he landed a role in "The Promised Land," which the Polish Museum of Cinematography later called the greatest Polish film ever made. It wouldn't be until "Schindler's List" that Nowak made his first and only American film. A few years prior to his death, Nowak's wife collaborated on a biography about the actor's life, called "Book of Love," which later earned her an award (per the Polish Daily).

Henryk Bista

Another "Schindler's List" actor who did primarily Polish films and for whom it's his only American credit, Henryk Bista played the role of Mr. Löwenstein. While Bista did appear in more than 100 films and TV shows, he was most known and acclaimed in Poland for his theater work, winning dozens of awards. He was a member of Warsaw's Contemporary Theatre from 1992 until his death in 1997 (via Culture.Pl).

While actors always achieve a certain amount of immortality in that their roles outlive them, Bista is especially true in this regard. His final film was the Shakespearean drama "Ubu król," which wouldn't be officially released until 2003 — six years after Bista's death. Bista received several high honors for his career from his native Poland, including the Bronze Medal of Merit for National Defence, the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta, the Silver Cross of Merit, and the Gold Cross of Merit (per People Pill).

Hans-Michael Rehberg

Several of the actors in "Schindler's List" played known historical figures, some of whom either committed horrific acts themselves or at least made decisions that led to mass suffering and death. Such is the case for actor Hans-Michael Rehberg, who had the unenviable task of playing Rudolf Höss. Höss not only oversaw the Auschwitz concentration camps, but helped to devise ways with which to exterminate the prisoners of the camps more quickly and efficiently (per the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum).

In addition to being a prolific actor of the stage and screen, Rehberg was also an award-winning director, according to DW. He also discovered that his distinctive voice was a great fit for narration, doing the audiobook reading of several German books including the acclaimed novel "Siddhartha." Like Jerzy Nowak, Rehberg's final film wouldn't be released until several years after his death, with 2022's "Rimini" coming five years after his 2017 passing.

Béatrice Macola

Of all the actors from the cast of "Schindler's List" to pass away so far, the one with the biggest roles in the film is definitely Béatrice Macola. Macola played Ingrid, a mistress of Oskar Schindler, who is riding across the countryside on horseback with Schindler when he witnesses Nazi soldiers murdering people in a neighborhood below. It was in that moment that he finally decided he must do something to fight against the injustices of the Nazis, making it an extremely pivotal scene in the film.

Macola was one of the younger members among the adult cast of "Schindler's List," only 28 at the time of production. The Italian actress had only just began her career, appearing in a few Italian and French films before her "Schindler's List" role introduced her to American audiences and helped to elevate her fame to a worldwide level. Unfortunately, her rising career would be cut short when, in 2001, she suffered a stroke and went into a coma. Macola would die 10 days later at age 36. 

Leopold Kozlowski

Another of the actors who played an investor in "Schindler's List" but has since passed away is Leopold Kozlowski. Kozlowski made it to 100 years of age and only just died in 2019. Interestingly, Kozlowski wasn't generally known as an actor. "Schindler's List" is one of a mere three acting credits to his name, with the other two being musician characters. And that is fitting, as music is what Kozlowski was more involved in in terms of film and television.

Even so, Kozlowski only worked as a composer or in an unspecified musical role in six projects total. But he was still a widely celebrated musician, enough so that he was the subject of a 1994 documentary entitled "The Last Klezmer: Leopold Kozlowski, His Life and Music." The film is about how Kozlowski was a real-life Holocaust survivor, and how he was among the last people to keep the Klezmer tradition of European folk music alive. 

Eugeniusz Priwieziencew

Unlike most of the people on this list, Eugeniusz Priwieziencew wasn't new to American films when he appeared in "Schindler's List" as a waiter. The actor got that out of the way 11 years earlier when he played a small role in the Meryl Streep/Kevin Kline drama "Sophie's Choice" — though that movie also touches on WWII and concentration camps. That said, Priwieziencew was still a predominantly European-based actor.

On top of his many screen credits, Priwieziencew was also an accomplished theater actor and was considered one of the key figures in the Polish neo-renaissance of the early-1980s (per World Literature Today and JSTOR). He also wrote and directed the movie "Prostytuki" in 1998. Besides movies and theater, Priwieziencew also appeared in several Polish TV shows, with one of his final roles being in the series "Television Theater" where he played multiple roles. He passed away in 2005 at only 58 years old.

Marian Glinka

One of the SS officers present during the pivotal Krakow factory scenes of "Schindler's List," actor Marian Glinka managed to cut a powerful and intimidating presence with relatively little screen time. While Glinka has done both film and television work, it was on television where he made the biggest impact, appearing as a main or recurring cast member in 14 different series over the course of his 40+ year career that went right up to his 2008 death at the age of 64.

It probably shouldn't come as a surprise that Glinka had a commanding screen presence given that, in addition to acting, he had a successful career as a bodybuilder (per the Silowni Bit Old School Bodybuilding Blog). He joins an established tradition of bodybuilders-turned-actors that also includes Arnold Schwarzenegger, "Incredible Hulk" TV series star (and still occasional Hulk voicer) Lou Ferrigno, and David Prowse, the man who was actually in the Darth Vader suit in the original "Star Wars" films. 

Stanislaw Koczanowicz

Stanislaw Koczanowicz's acting career didn't really get started until fairly late into his life. His first role was in 1979, when he was already 58 years old. He would only go on to have 11 credits to his name, mostly in television, with his final role being that of a doorman in "Schindler's List." Koczanowicz died in 1993, the same year that his American movie debut was released, at the age of 72. 

If nothing else, Koczanowicz is a good lesson that it's never too late to follow your dreams, or even to just start a new path in life. He was never a huge star, but he did get to be in an Academy Award-winning Steven Spielberg movie despite not becoming a full-time actor until he was almost in his 60s. Little is publicly known about Koczanowicz beyond his short acting career, but he definitely managed to make his professional mark with a career that technically spanned three decades. 

Branko Lustig

One of the people who got to share the BAFTA, Golden Globe, and Chicago Film Critics best picture awards that "Schindler's List" received was Branko Lustig, as he was one of the producers of the film. He also played a small role in the movie as a maître d', one of only eight acting roles to his name. But Lustig was primarily a producer, and his name was attached to a few other big-named American films as well.

In addition to helping usher "Schindler's List" into being, Lustig also put his weight behind "The Peacemaker" (the last film he appeared in as an actor), "Gladiator" (also a Best Picture Oscar winner), "Hannibal," "Black Hawk Down," "Kingdom of Heaven," "A Good Year," and "American Gangster." But "Schindler's List" remained the movie he was most associated with, as most of the headlines for the news stories reporting his 2019 death at age 87 referred to him as "'Schindler's List' producer Branko Lustig."

Tadeusz Bradecki

Tadeusz Bradecki played the foreman of Schindler's Krakow factory in "Schindler's List," another performer for whom it was his only American film credit. Bradecki is also another member of the cast who was more widely known in his native country (Poland) for his theater work than his screen credits, though he had plenty of the latter. He passed away in January of 2022 at the age of 67.

Reports of his death in Poland largely focused on his contributions to the theater there, not only as an actor but also a playwright, director, and theater teacher (via the Polish News). His work in the theater actually brought him to more countries than his film acting career did, performing not only on stages in Poland but in Spain, Hungary, and France as well. As such, Bradecki was credited with helping to bring international attention to Polish theater.