Amon Goth

Amon Goth

SS Hauptsturmführer and commandant of the Nazi concentration camp in Plaszow
Date of Birth: 11.12.1908
Country: Germany

  1. Biography of Amon Goeth
  2. Early Life and Nazi Party Membership
  3. Concentration Camp Commandant in Plaszow
  4. Crimes and Actions in Plaszow
  5. Post-War and Trial
  6. Execution and Legacy

Biography of Amon Goeth

Early Life and Nazi Party Membership

Amon Goeth was born in Vienna, the capital of Austria-Hungary, into a printer's family. At the age of 22, he joined the Austrian branch of the Nazi Party and became a member of the Austrian SS. His early activities in the SS are not well-documented, as the Austrian SS was an illegal underground organization until the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938. Between 1932 and 1936, Goeth served as a member of the SS Allgemeine-SS in Vienna and rose to the rank of SS-Unterscharführer. From 1938 to 1941, he was a member of the 11th SS-Standarte regiment in Vienna. On July 14, 1941, he was promoted to the rank of SS-Untersturmführer.

Amon Goth

Concentration Camp Commandant in Plaszow

In August 1942, Goeth left Vienna to join the team of SS-Brigadeführer Odilo Globocnik, the leader of the police and SS forces in Krakow. He became an officer in the regular SS forces serving in concentration camps and on February 11, 1943, he received an order to build and lead a forced labor camp in Plaszow. It took him one month to construct the camp using slave labor. On March 13, 1943, after the closure of the Jewish ghetto in Krakow, its surviving residents were resettled in this new labor camp, resulting in the deaths of nearly two thousand people. Goeth was accused of personally shooting people during the resettlement.

Crimes and Actions in Plaszow

In Plaszow, Goeth tortured and killed prisoners daily. During his time there, he personally shot over 500 Jews. Poldi Pfefferberg, one of the Jews saved by Oskar Schindler, stated, "When you see Goeth, you see Death." However, he spared the life of a Jewish prisoner named Natalia Hubler after she played a Chopin nocturne on the piano the day after her arrival at the Plaszow camp.

Post-War and Trial

On September 13, 1944, Goeth left his position as the commandant of Plaszow and was transferred to the SS Department of Economics and Administration. In November 1944, shortly after his transfer, Goeth was accused of looting Jewish property and was arrested by the Gestapo. He was listed in the case files of SS Judge Georg Conrad Morgen, but due to Germany's impending defeat in the war, the trial was never held, and the charges against him were dropped. Goeth was then assigned to Bad Tolz, where he underwent medical examinations for his mental illness and diabetes. He was sent to a sanatorium, where he was arrested by American forces in May 1945. Just before his arrest, it was reported that he had been promoted to the rank of SS-Sturmbannführer. Some documents from his subsequent interrogations record him as "SS-Major Goeth." However, his service records refute this, and most texts mention him as an SS-Hauptsturmführer, which corresponds to the rank of captain.

Execution and Legacy

After the war, Goeth was found guilty of the murder of tens of thousands of people by the National Supreme Tribunal of Poland in Krakow. On September 13, 1946, at the age of 37, Goeth was hanged near the former Plaszow camp. The executioner made two miscalculations before successfully hanging Goeth on the third attempt. In 2002, Goeth's daughter, Monika, published a book-interview in Germany titled "Ich muss doch meinen Vater lieben, oder?" ("Must I Love My Father?"), which delves into her exploration of her father's past. In 2008, a documentary film by director James Moll, called "Inheritance," was released, detailing Goeth's daughter's efforts to uncover her father's history and featuring testimony from Helena Jonas, one of Goeth's former Jewish prisoners.

Goeth's actions at the Plaszow labor camp gained worldwide attention after the release of the film "Schindler's List." Ralph Fiennes, who portrayed Goeth, received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. The American Film Institute ranked Fiennes as the 15th greatest film villain of all time. Mila Pfefferberg, one of the surviving Jews saved by Schindler, was shocked at how accurately Fiennes portrayed Goeth, down to his every mannerism. However, the film does not depict all of Goeth's crimes.