After controversial 'Schindler's List' leggings go viral, the real-life actress from the movie speaks out

After controversial 'Schindler's List' leggings go viral, the real-life actress from the movie speaks out
The 1993 Holocaust film, "Schindler's List," featuring the girl in the red coat, who critics considered the soul of the story.Universal Pictures
  • After an online uproar, the controversial "Schindler's List" leggings are no longer being sold.
  • The actor who played the young girl in the red coat in the movie spoke to Insider about the news.

In April, leggings emblazoned with stills from the 1993 Holocaust movie "Schindler's List" went viral and drew ire from customers. Now, the Polish actor who played the iconic girl in the red jacket from the movie is speaking out about the design.

The leggings were being sold through the artist marketplace Redbubble and first went viral when comedian Emily Murnane posted an image of them on Twitter. They were prominently emblazoned with the stills from the lauded movie, including photos of Polish actor Oliwia Dabrowska, who portrayed the girl in the red coat.

Speaking to Insider about the viral leggings, Dabrowska was aghast.

"Oh, those leggings are awful. Imagine, wearing 'Schindler's List' on your own butt," Dabrowska, 32, told Insider. "How could anyone think this is a good idea?"

Dabrowska starred alongside Liam Neeson in the Oscar-winning movie, which was directed by Steven Spielberg. Neeson portrayed real-life German businessman Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of some 1,200 Jews from deportation to the death camps during WWII.


Actors Ben Kingsley, who portrayed Schindler's Jewish employee, Itzhak Stern, and Ralph Fiennes, who played notorious SS officer Amon Göth, also appeared on the leggings.

Dabrowska has been called the heart of the film by critics for portraying a young girl who appears in a red coat in the otherwise black and white movie and influences Schindler to take action during the Holocaust. (As a teen, Dabrowska even met the "real-life" girl in the red coat, Roma Ligocka.)

The subject matter of the film should never be minimized, Dabrowska — who today helps Ukrainian refugees at the border who fled to Poland — told Insider.

"For me, it's the most important movie in history. I think because of this movie, we remember. We cannot allow it again," she said.

After controversial 'Schindler's List' leggings go viral, the real-life actress from the movie speaks out
Oliwia Dabrowska, the Polish actor who portrayed the girl in the red coat.Courtesy of Oliwia Dabrowska

On Thursday, The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported the controversial leggings, in addition to the same print on products including skirts, shower curtains, and iPhone cases, won't be as widely available online through RedBubble.


RedBubble, which allows third-party users to upload their designs on the site, told Insider that the seller's account has been shuttered.

"Sometimes content issues arise that do not comply with our protocols. When that happens, we take it very seriously and act swiftly," a representative emailed Insider in part, adding that there's rigorous monitoring of the site "in an effort to ensure that content on the marketplace related to sensitive topics remains respectful."

Other controversial and questionable clothing items have been pulled from stores over the years, including Holocaust-reminscent paraphernalia that received similar flak. In December 2021, Nordstrom issued an apology over blue and white striped pajamas that evoked the uniforms Jewish prisoners wore in concentration camps, vowing to stop selling them, and clothing brand Zara faced backlash when it sold a striped top for children with a six-pointed yellow star on the chest pocket back in 2014.