|Amon Leopold Göth|
Amon Leopold Göth's mug shot in 1945.
December 11, 1908|
Vienna, Austria-Hungary (now Austria)
|Died||September 13, 1946
|Years of service||1930–1945|
|Service number||NSDAP #510,764
|Commands held||Arbeitslager KL-Plaszow|
Amon Leopold Goeth (help·info) (represented in German as Göth pronounced [ˈɡøːt]) (11 December 1908 – 13 September 1946) was an SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain) and the commandant of the Nazi labour and concentration camp in Płaszów in German-occupied Poland during World War II. He was tried as a war criminal after the war. After the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland at Kraków found him guilty of murdering tens of thousands of people, he was executed by hanging not far from the former site of the Płaszów camp. The film Schindler's List depicts his occasional practice of shooting camp internees for sport.
Early life and career 
Goeth was born in Vienna, then the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to a family in the book publishing industry. Goeth joined a Nazi youth group at the age of 17, moved to a nationalist paramilitary group at the age of 19, and by the age of 22, became a member of the Austrian branch of the Nazi Party. In September 1930, he was assigned the Party Number 510,764. Göth simultaneously joined the Austrian SS and was appointed an SS-Mann with the SS Number 43,673.
Goeth's early activities are little known, largely because the Austrian SS was an illegal and underground organization until the Anschluss of Austria with Nazi Germany in 1938. Between 1932 and 1936, Goeth was a member of an Allgemeine-SS company in Vienna and by 1937, had risen to the rank of SS-Oberscharführer (staff sergeant). Between 1938 to 1941, he was a member of 11th SS-Standarte operating from Vienna and was commissioned to the rank of SS-Untersturmführer (second lieutenant) on 14 July 1941.
On 11 August 1942, Goeth departed from his current position to join the staff of SS-Brigadeführer Odilo Globočnik, the SS and Police Leader of the Kraków area. He was appointed a regular SS officer of the Concentration Camp service, and on 11 February 1943 was assigned to construct and command a forced labour camp at Płaszów. The camp took one month to construct using forced labour and, on 13 March 1943, the Jewish ghetto of Kraków was closed down (liquidated), with the surviving inhabitants imprisoned in the new forced labor camp. Approximately 2,000 people died during the evacuation.
On 3 September 1943 Goeth was given the further task of shutting down the ghetto at Tarnów, where an unknown number of people (an estimated 10,000) were killed on the spot. On 3 February 1944 Goeth closed down the concentration camp at Szebnie by ordering the inmates to be murdered on the spot or deported to other camps, again resulting in several thousand deaths.
By April 1944, Goeth had been promoted to the rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain), having received a double promotion and thus skipping the rank of SS-Obersturmführer (first lieutenant). He was also appointed a reserve officer of the Waffen-SS, a branch of the SS. His assignment as Commandant of the Kraków-Płaszów Labour Camp continued, now under the direct authority of the SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt, also known as the SS Economics and Administration Office.
Goeth believed that the Jews themselves should pay for their own executions, so on 11 May 1942, in the small town of Szczebrzeszyn, the Gestapo ordered the Jewish council to pay 2,000 złoty and 3 kilograms of coffee to cover the expenses for the ammunition used to kill the Jews.
During his tenure as commander of Płaszów, Goeth tortured and murdered prisoners on a daily basis. Goeth is believed to have personally killed more than 500 imprisoned Jews and sent thousands more to be executed on Hujowa Górka, a large hill that was used for mass killings along Płaszów's grounds. Poldek Pfefferberg, one of the Schindler Jews, said: "When you saw Goeth, you saw death." According to Płaszów survivor Helen Jonas-Rosenzweig:
"As a survivor I can tell you that we are all traumatized people. Never would I, never, believe that any human being would be capable of such horror, of such atrocities. When we saw him from a distance, everybody was hiding, in latrines, wherever they could hide. I can't tell you how people feared him."
Goeth forced Mieczysław "Mietek" Pemper, who was Jewish, to work as his personal secretary and stenographer in Płaszów.  In his book "The Road to Rescue: The Untold Story of Schindler's List", Pemper says that the job allowed him to collect information and thus help Oskar Schindler to save more than 1,200 Jews. Mietek Pemper is known to this day as the man who compiled Schindler's List. 
Goeth spared the life of Jewish prisoner Natalia Hubler (later famous as Natalia Karp) and that of her sister, after hearing her play a nocturne by Chopin on the piano the day after she arrived at the Płaszów camp.
Dismissal and capture 
On 13 September 1944 Goeth was relieved of his position as Commandant of Płaszów and was assigned to the SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt. Around November 1944 in Vienna, Goeth was charged with theft of Jewish property (which, according to Nazi legislation, belonged to the state), and was arrested by the Gestapo. He was scheduled for an appearance before SS judge Georg Konrad Morgen, but due to the progress of World War II and Germany's looming defeat, a court martial was never assembled and the charges against him were summarily dismissed.
He was next assigned to Bad Tölz, Germany, where he was quickly diagnosed by SS doctors as suffering from mental illness and diabetes. He was committed to a mental institution. He remained there until he was arrested by the United States military in May 1945. At the time of his arrest, Goeth claimed to have been recently promoted to SS-Sturmbannführer and, during later interrogations, several documents listed him as "SS-Major Göth". Rudolf Höss was also of the opinion that Goeth had been promoted and, when called to give testimony at Goeth's trial, indicated that Goeth was an SS-Major in the Concentration Camp service.
Goeth's service record, however, does not support the claim of a late war promotion and he is listed in most texts as having held the rank of only SS-Hauptsturmführer, equivalent to captain.
After the war, the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland in Kraków found Goeth guilty of murdering tens of thousands of people. He was hanged on 13 September 1946, at the age of 37, not far from the former site of the Płaszów camp. At his execution, Goeth's hands were tied behind his back. The executioner twice miscalculated the length of rope necessary to hang Goeth, and it was only on the third attempt that the execution was successful. However, it has been suggested that the film shows the execution not of Goeth but of Dr Ludwig Fischer.
Goeth was married and divorced twice. His first marriage was to Olga Janauschek in January 1934. They were divorced in July 1936. His second marriage was to Anny Geiger in October 1938, which ended in 1944. Soon after his second marriage ended, Goeth was engaged to Ruth Irene Kalder, (nicknamed "Majola" in the Płaszów camp during her stay in Goeth's "Red Villa"), who had taken Goeth's name shortly after his death. Through these relationships, Goeth had two sons and two daughters. With Olga Janauschek, Goeth had his first child, a boy named Peter, who died seven months after his birth from a diphtheria infection. Goeth had two children with Anny Geiger, a daughter named Ingeborg and a son named Werner. Goeth's last child was a daughter named Monika (chosen mainly from Goeth's childhood nickname, "Mony") whom he had by Ruth Irene Kalder. Monika was born on 23 October 1945, ten months before his execution.
In popular culture 
Goeth's actions at Płaszów Labor Camp became internationally known through his depiction by British actor Ralph Fiennes in the 1993 film, Schindler's List. In a subsequent interview, Fiennes recalled:
Evil is cumulative. It happens. People believe that they’ve got to do a job, they’ve got to take on an ideology, that they’ve got a life to lead; they’ve got to survive, a job to do, it’s every day inch by inch, little compromises, little ways of telling yourself this is how you should lead your life and suddenly then these things can happen. I mean, I could make a judgement myself privately, this is a terrible, evil, horrific man. But the job was to portray the man, the human being. There’s a sort of banality, that everydayness, that I think was important. And it was in the screenplay. In fact, one of the first scenes with Oskar Schindler, with Liam Neeson, was a scene where I’m saying, 'You don’t understand how hard it is, I have to order so many—so many meters of barbed wire and so many fencing posts and I have to get so many people from A to B.' And, you know, he’s sort of letting off steam about the difficulties of the job.
Fiennes won a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and his portrayal ranked 15th on AFI's list of the top 50 film villains of all time. He ranks as the highest non-fiction villain. When Płaszów survivor Mila Pfefferberg was introduced to Fiennes on the set of the film, she began to shake uncontrollably, as Fiennes, attired in full SS dress uniform, reminded her of the real Amon Goeth. At the film's climax, Goeth's hanging is dramatized. However, he is incorrectly shown patting his hair in place and saying "Heil Hitler" moments before an officer in the People's Army of Poland kicks a chair out from under him.
In 2002, Amon Goeth's daughter Monika Goeth Hertwig published her memoirs under the name Ich muß doch meinen Vater lieben, oder? ("But I have to love my father, don't I?"). Monika described the subsequent life of her mother, Ruth Kalder Goeth, who unconditionally glorified her fiancé until confronted with his role in the Holocaust. Ruth committed suicide in 1983, shortly after giving an interview in Jon Blair's documentary Schindler. Monika Hertwig's experiences in dealing with her father's crimes are detailed in Inheritance, a 2006 documentary directed by James Moll. Appearing in the documentary is Helen Jonas-Rosenzweig, one of Amon Goeth's former housemaids. The documentary details the meeting of the two women at the Płaszów memorial site in Poland. In a subsequent interview, Jonas-Rosenzweig recalled,
"It's hard for me to be with her because she reminds me a lot of, you know...she's tall, she has certain features. And I hated him so. But she is a victim. And I think it's important because she is willing to tell the story in Germany. She told me people don't want to know, they want to go on with their lives. And I think it's very important because there's a lot of children of perpetrators, and I think she's a brave person to go on talking about it, because it's difficult. And I feel for Monika. I am a mother, I have children. And she is affected by the fact that her father was a perpetrator. But my children are also affected by it. And that's why we both came here. The world has to know, to prevent something like this from happening again."
Monika Hertwig has also appeared in a recent documentary film called Hitler's Children, directed and produced by Chanoch Zeevi who is an Israeli documentary maker. In the documentary, Monika and other close relatives of infamous Nazi leaders describe their feelings, relationships and memories of their relations.
Summary of SS career 
- SS number: 43673
- Nazi Party number: 510764
- Primary Positions: Lagerkommandant, Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp
- Waffen-SS service: SS-Hauptsturmführer der Reserve
Dates of rank
- SS-Mann: c. 1930
- SS-Oberscharführer: c. 1937
- SS-Untersturmführer: 14 July 1941
- SS-Hauptsturmführer: 1 August 1943
- SS-Hauptsturmführer der Reserve der Waffen-SS: 20 April 1944
Source: SS Service Record of Amon Göth - National Archives & Records Administration; College Park, Maryland
- Crowe, David (2007). Oskar Schindler. Basic Books. p. 226. ISBN 0465002536. Retrieved 17 December 2008.
- Bartosz T. Wieliński (10.07.2012). "Amon Göth myśliwy z KL Płaszów (Amon Göth, the hunter from KL Płaszów)". Column alehistoria (in Polish). Gazeta Wyborcza. Retrieved April 1, 2013.
- "The SS: A Government in Waiting". Yizkor Book Project. JewishGen. 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
- Jonas, Helen (26 February 2009). "Voices on Antisemitism – A Podcast Series". ushmm.org. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
- Charters, David. "Natalia Karp". LiverpoolDailyPost.co.uk. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
- SS service record of Amon Göth, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.
- Isabelle Clarke and Danielle Costelle, La Traque des Nazis 1945–2005, soixante ans de traque (film documentary) (French)
- Fiennes, Ralph (4 March 2010). "Voices on Antisemitism – A Podcast Series". ushmm.org. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 20 January 2012.
- Corliss, Richard (21 February 1994). "The Man Behind the Monster". Time Magazine. Retrieved 14 August 2008.
- Bülow, Louis (2007). "The Nazi Butcher: Amon Goeth". Retrieved 12 March 2007.
- Kessler, Matthias (2002). Ich muß doch meinen Vater lieben, oder? (in German). Eichborn. ISBN 978-3821839141.
- "Inheritance". Public Broadcasting Service. 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011.
- "Voices on Antisemitism | Transcript". Ushmm.org. Retrieved 2012-06-28.
- "Hitler's Children". Chanoch Ze'evi. 2009. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
- Der Tod ist ein Meister aus Wien, Johannes Sachslehner, Styria Verlag, 2008, ISBN 978-3-222-13233-9 (German language)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Amon Göth|
- Footage of Amon Goeth's execution
- The Trial of Amon Goeth
- An Interview with Monika Goeth Hertwig.
- Voices on Antisemitism' Interview with Helen Jonas from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- Voices on Antisemitism Interview with Ralph Fiennes from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum