Oliwia Dabrowska, the polish actress who played Red Genia — otherwise known as the little girl in the red coat — in "Schindler's List," really wishes she had taken director Steven Spielberg's advice and not watched the Holocaust drama until she was 18.
In an interview published Monday by UK newspaper the Times, Dabrowska says she ignored Spielberg's direction to "grow up into the film and watched the film at the age of 11, only to be "horrified" by what she saw.
"It was too horrible," the now 23-year-old university student explained. "I could not understand much, but I was sure that I didn't want to watch ever again in my life."
Dabrowska, who appeared in only one more film three years after her traumatic debut, was living in the city of Kraków, Poland (and still does) when she played the most colorful part of the critically-acclaimed film set in the 1939 version of her hometown. And even though she was an intricate part of Spielberg's production, which won Academy Awards for best picture and best director, she wasn't entirely happy about it.
"I was ashamed of being in the movie and angry with my mother and father when they told anyone about the part," Dabrowska explained. "People said: 'It must be so important to you, you must know so much about the Holocaust.' I was frustrated by it all."
But after years of experiencing negative feelings about her role in the film, she finally realized the importance of her work.
"I had been part of something I could be proud of," Dabrowska says of her state of mind after viewing the film at the age Spielberg suggested.
"Schindler's List" featured Dabrowska wearing a red coat and red shoes, the only splash of color in the monochrome depiction of how Oscar Schindler (Liam Neeson) rescued over 1,200 Polish Jews from certain death by going to great lengths to allow them to work in his factories.
A limited edition DVD/Blu-Ray celebrating the 20th anniversary of the film is being released on Tuesday.