Amon Göth

Amon Leopold Göth , also written Goeth ( Vienna , November of December of 1908 – Krakow , 13 of September of 1946 ), was an official Austrian of the SSand commander of the concentration camp of Plaszow in occupied Poland by Nazi Germany during the World War II . After the end of the conflict, he was tried as a war criminal in Krakow by the Polish National Supreme Court and found guilty of ordering the imprisonment, torture and murder of numerous persons. He was also found guilty of murder , the first such conviction in a war crimes trial, for “killing, maiming and torturing a large number, not clarified, of persons.” 1 He was executed on the gallows on September 13, 1946 near the Plaszow camp that he directed.

Amon Göth is recreated as the main villain of Steven Spielberg ‘s acclaimed film Schindler ‘s List (1993), which is played by actor Ralph Fiennes .


First years and race in the SS

Göth was born on December 11, 1908 in Vienna , then capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire , in a family dedicated to the publishing industry. 2 was part of a paramilitary group anti – Semitic and nationalist, the HeimwehrGuard of the Fatherland – from 1927 to 1930. In September 1930 left this training to join the Austrian branch of the Nazi Party , which received the membership number 510764 That same year it was united to the Austrian SS with the number 43 673. 3

Göth served with SS Truppe Deimel and Sturm Libardi in Vienna until January 1933, when he was promoted to assistant and platoon leader of the 52nd SS Standard, a unit the size of a regiment. Shortly thereafter he achieved the rank of Scharführer , leader of the squadron. 4 When the police searched him for illegal activities, he fled to Germany. The Austrian Nazi Party was declared illegal in Austria on June 19, 1933 and therefore had to move to Munich , city from which Göth was engaged in smuggling radios and weapons within Austria and acted as messenger of the SS. 5 He was arrested in October 1933 by the Austrian authorities and released in December for lack of evidence. He was arrested again after the assassination of the Austrian chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss the 25 of July of 1934 in a failed attempt of coup d’etat on the part of Nazis. He escaped and fled to the SS training camp at Dachau , near the infamous Dachau concentration camp . 5 Until 1937 he abandoned his activities with the SS and lived in Munich helping his parents in the publishing business. Göth was married in 1934 to Olga Janauschek on the recommendation of his parents, but he divorced in a few months. 6

He returned to Vienna shortly after the Anschluss -incorporation of Austria to Nazi Germany- in 1938 and resumed his activities with the Nazi party. He married Anny Geiger in a civil ceremony of the SS in October 1938. 7 The marriage, which had three children, lived in Vienna during the first years of World War II . 8 At first, Göth was assigned to the 89th SS Banner and at the beginning of the conflict was assigned to the 1st SS-Sturmbann of the 11th Banner and promoted to Oberscharführer -argento- in early 1941. Soon he won A reputation as an administrator with experience in the efforts of the Nazis to isolate and relocate the Jewish population of Europe, acting as Einsatzführer – Leader of action – and financial officer of the Reichskommissariat für die Festigung deutschen VolkstumsReich Commissioner for the strengthening of the German nation -. The 14 of July of 1941 ascended to Untersturmführer -subuteniente- of the SS. Referring to Fig.

In the summer of 1942, Amon Göth was transferred to Lublin , occupied Poland, where he joined the team of Brigadeführer Odilo Globocnik , chief of the SS police in the Krakow area . There he participated in Operation Reinhard , the code name for the creation of three extermination camps in Bełżec , Sobibor and Treblinka . Nothing is known about their activities in the six months of this operation because their participants were forced to remain silent, but according to the transcripts of their trial after the war, Göth was responsible for corralar and transfer the victims who died In these extermination camps. 10


Plaszow concentration camp .

Göth was assigned to the Totenkopfverbände unit of the SS concentration camp service, where his first task as of February 11, 1943 was to supervise the construction of the Plaszow concentration camp in Krakow, from which he later became commander. 11 The facilities were erected in a month using slave labor. On 13 March 1943, the Krakow ghetto was liquidated and all its occupants in working condition were transferred to the new Plaszow camp. 12Several thousand Jews who were not considered fit to work were sent to death camps , while several hundred more were executed in the streets of the ghetto by the Nazis during the eviction. 13

In addition to directing Plaszow, from September 3, 1943 Göth was the official in charge of the liquidation of the Tarnów ghetto, inhabited since the beginning of the war by 25,000 Jews – about 45% of the population of the city – . All were transported by train to the Auschwitz concentration camp , but less than half survived the trip. Most of the survivors were not considered fit to work and were murdered immediately after their arrival. According to the testimony of several witnesses in the 1946 Göth trial, he personally shot and killed between thirty and ninety women and children during the liquidation of the ghetto. 14

Amon Göth was also responsible for the liquidation of Szebnie concentration camp, which housed 4000 Jews and 1500 Polish slave laborers. Evidence presented at the trial indicated that Göth delegated this task to his subordinate, the Hauptscharführer Josef Grzimek, who was sent to assist with the mass executions to the camp commander, Hans Kellermann. 15 16 Between September 21, 1943 and February 3, 1944, this camp was gradually liquidated; Around a thousand victims were transferred to a nearby forest and shot, while the rest were sent to Auschwitz and killed in the gas chambers when they arrived. fifteen

In April 1944, Göth was promoted to Hauptsturmführer- captain- 17 and appointed officer in the Waffen-SS reserve . At the beginning of 1944, Plaszow went from being a field of work to permanent concentration camp under the direct authority of the SSO . 18 Mietek Pemper N 1 testified in the trial that was during the previous period when Amon Göth committed most of the indiscriminate killings for which he is infamous. 20 Concentration camps were more controlled by the SS than the labor camps, so conditions for prisoners improved slightly after the change of status. twenty-one

The house of Amon Göth next to the concentration camp of Plaszow (photo 2010).

The Plaszow camp housed about 2,000 inmates when it opened, but at its height of occupation in 1944 it contained 25,000 prisoners guarded by 636 guards; Moreover, 150,000 people temporarily passed through this place as a transit camp. 22 Amon Göth killed arbitrary prisoners every day. His two dogs, Rolf and Ralf, were trained to tear the inmates to death. 18 Göth fired the prisoners from the window of his office by the camp if he saw that they moved slowly or were resting in the courtyard. 18 He killed a Jewish cook because the soup was very hot 23 and he treated brutally his two maids, Helen Jonas-Rosenzweig and Helen Hirsch, who feared daily for their lives. 24

As a survivor I can tell you that we were all traumatized people. I never believed that a human being could be capable of such horror and atrocities. When we saw him from a distance, everyone hid in the latrines or wherever they could. I could not tell you how much people feared.

Helen Jonas-Rosenzweig 25

Poldek Pfefferberg , one of the Jews saved by Oskar Schindler , said: “When you saw Göth, you saw death.” 26 However, Amon Göth pardoned the lives of the Jewish prisoner Natalia Hubler and her sister after hearing them play an evening of Chopin on the piano the day after they arrived in Plaszow. 27

Göth believed that if a member of a team escaped or committed any infraction, the whole team should be punished. On one occasion he ordered all the second members of a work crew to be killed because one of them had fled; 28 on another occasion he shot and killed a member of each working group because one of them had not returned to the field. 29 The main place of execution in Plaszow was Hujowa Górka , a hill on which mass murders were committed. 30 Pemper testified that between eight and twelve thousand people were executed in Plaszow. 31

Destitution and capture

On September 13, 1944, Göth was relieved of his position and accused by the SS of the robbery of Jewish properties – that belonged to the German state according to the Nazi legislation, of not feeding properly the prisoners under his charge, of the violation of The rules of the field on the treatment and punishment of inmates and to allow access to field records to unauthorized personnel. 32 The administration of the field of Plaszow passed into the hands of the Obersturmführer Arnold Büscher. Göth was summoned to appear before SS Judge Georg Konrad Morgen, but the imminent German defeat in World War II prompted the charges to be withdrawn in early 1945. 33 Doctors diagnosed Göth suffering from mental illness and was admitted to A psychiatric hospital in Bad Tölz , where he was arrested by the US military in May 1945. 34

Judgment and execution

Amon Göth after his arrest in 1945.

After the end of World War II, Amon Göth was extradited to Poland and tried in Krakow by the National Supreme Court between 27 August and 5 September 1946. 1 34 He was convicted of being a member of the Nazi party – Been declared a criminal organization – and to order the imprisonment, torture and extermination of numerous persons. 1 He was also convicted of murder , the first conviction of this type in a war crimes trial, for “killing, maiming and torturing a large number, not clarified, of persons.” 1 He was sentenced to death and executed by hanging on September 13, 1946 in the prison of Montelupich of Krakow, not far from the site of the Plaszow camp. Göth’s last words were ” Heil Hitler .” 35 His body was cremated and the ashes were thrown into the Vistula River . 36


Fruit of the marriage of Göth with Anny Geiger in 1938 were born three children: Peter, born in 1939 and who died of diphtheria at seven months; 7Werner, born in 1940; And Ingeborg, born in 1941. 37

In addition to her two marriages, Amon Göth had a two-year relationship with Ruth Irene Kalder, a beautician and aspiring actress 38 whom she met in late 1942 or early 1943 when she worked as a secretary to businessman Oskar Schindler in the factory Of kitchenware that he owned in Krakow. Ruth moved quickly to live with the SS officer and became her lover. After the execution of Göth, decided to adopt its last name. 39 Göth’s last daughter was Monika Hertwig, who was born in November 1945 in Bad Tölz as a result of her relationship with Kalder.

Portrait in the media

Schindler’s list

The figure of Amon Göth and his actions as commander of the field of Plaszow became world-famous with its appearance like villain in the acclaimed film of Steven Spielberg Schindler ‘s list (1993), in which it interprets it the British actor Ralph Fiennes . For this role, Fiennes won the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor . 40 His interpretation of Amon Göth deserved to be ranked fifteen on the list of the fifty best villains in film history by the American Film Institute , the first based on a real character. 41 When Mila Pfefferberg, a survivor Jewish camp Plaszow, he was introduced to Ralph Fiennes in the uniform of the SS during the filming of Schindler’s List , started shaking uncontrollably because he remembered vividly the true Amon Goeth. 42

Monika Hertwig

In 2002 Göth’s daughter, Monika Hertwig, published her memoir recounting the life of her mother, Ruth Kalder Göth, who unconditionally glorified the Nazi officer until she faced the gravity of her actions during the Holocaust . Ruth committed suicide in 1983, shortly after granting an interview for the documentary Schindler , of Jon Blair. 43 Hertwig’s existence with the weight of his father’s actions on conscience is detailed in Inheritance , another documentary directed in 2006 by James Moll. In this documentary also appears Helen Jonas-Rosenzweig, one of the maids of Göth, and portrays its encounter with Monika in the memorial of Plaszow in memory of the victims of the concentration camp. 44 Jonas-Rosenzweig affirmed about this meeting:

It’s hard for me because she reminds me a lot of him, you know … she’s tall and has some features of her father. And I hated him. But she is a victim, and I think it is important because her will is to tell the story in Germany. He told me that people do not want to know, just to continue with their lives. But I think it is important, because there are many descendants of the perpetrators, and I think he is brave for daring to talk about it, because it is difficult. She is affected by the fact that her father was one of the executors. But my children are also affected. That’s why we came here. The world must know it to avoid something like this happening again. 25

Hertwig also appears in the documentary Hitler’s Children (2011), directed and produced by Israeli documentary filmmaker Chanoch Zeevi. In it several descendants and relatives of infamous Nazi leaders describe their feelings, relationships and memories about their relatives. 45 Jennifer Teege, daughter of Hertwig and a black Nigerian citizen, discovered that Amon Göth was his grandfather with the publication of his mother’s memoirs in 2002. He reflected on his ancestor in a book published in 2013 under the title Amon. Mein Großvater hätte mich erschossenAmon. My grandfather would have executed me . 46

Summary of his career in SS

  • Number of SS: 43 673
  • Nazi party number: 510 764
  • Main position: Lagerkommandant , commander of the concentration camp of Plaszow .
  • Service in the Waffen-SS: SS- Hauptsturmführer der Reserve 47

Dates of promotions

Göth ranks on SS 47
Date Rank
1930 SS- Mann
C. 1935 SS- Scharführer
1941 SS- Oberscharführer
July 14, 1941 SS- Untersturmführer
August 1, 1943 SS- Hauptsturmführer
April 20, 1944 SS- Hauptsturmführer der Reserve der Waffen-SS


  • Anschluss Medal
  • German Sports Badge (Silver)
  • SS Julleuchter
  • Cabrio of honor of the old guard 47

At the time of his capture by the US Army, Amon Göth claimed that he had just been promoted to the rank of Sturmbannführer (equivalent to major ), something that does not figure in his SS file. However, several transcripts of US interrogations labeled him “Major of the SS Göth.” The Obersturmbannführer of the SS Rudolf Höß , commander of the Auschwitz concentration camp , ratified this claim in his own trial when he testified that Göth had the rank of major in the concentration camp service. The records of the end of the war are not exhaustive and so it is possible that Amon Göth was promoted but did not appear in the documents. Many history books refer to him simply as Hauptsturmführer (captain). 48 49


  1. Back to top↑ Mieczysław «Mietek» Pemper was a Jew who was forced to work as personal secretary and stenographer of Amon Göth in Plaszow. Using names obtained by Marcel Goldberg, a police officer in the Jewish ghetto , Pemper compiled and typed a list of the names of 1,200 Jews who traveled to the Oskar Schindler factoryin Brunnitz in October 1944. 19


  1. ↑ Jump to:a b c d Rzepliński, 2004 , p. 2.
  2. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , p. 217.
  3. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , pp. 218-220.
  4. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , p. 220.
  5. ↑ Jump to:a b Crowe, 2004 , pp. 220-221.
  6. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , pp. 221-223.
  7. ↑ Jump to:a b Sachslehner, 2008 , p. 41.
  8. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , pp. 210, 223.
  9. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , pp. 224-226.
  10. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , pp. 226-227.
  11. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , p. 227.
  12. Back to top↑ Longerich, 2010 , p. 376.
  13. Back to top↑ Roberts, 1996 , pp. 60-61.
  14. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , p. 232.
  15. ↑ Jump to:a b Crowe, 2004 , pp. 234-236.
  16. Back to top↑ Bracik and Twaróg, 2003 .
  17. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , p. 233.
  18. ↑ Jump to:a b c Crowe, 2004 , p. 256.
  19. Back to top↑ «Mietek Pemper» . The Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group). June 15, 2011 . Accessed April 27, 2014 .
  20. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , p. 242.
  21. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , p. 317.
  22. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , pp. 237, 242.
  23. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , p. 257.
  24. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , pp. 259-264.
  25. ↑ Jump to:a b Fishman, 2009 .
  26. Return to top↑ Keneally, 1993 , p. 360.
  27. Back to top↑ «Natalia Karp» . The Daily Telegraph . July 11, 2007 . Accessed April 26, 2014 .
  28. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , p. 258.
  29. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , p. 259.
  30. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , p. 265.
  31. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , p. 237
  32. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , pp. 354-355.
  33. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , p. 359.
  34. ↑ Jump to:a b McKale, 2012 , p. 201.
  35. Back to top↑ Teege and Sellmair, 2013 , pp. 72-74.
  36. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , p. 211.
  37. Back to top↑ Sachslehner, 2008 , p. 43.
  38. Back to top↑ Sachslehner, 2008 , p. 167.
  39. Back to top↑ Crowe, 2004 , p. 210.
  40. Back to top↑ Freud, 2012 .
  41. Back to top↑ «AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Heroes & Villains» . . American Film Institute . 4 June 2003 . Accessed April 26, 2014 .
  42. Back to top↑ Corliss, 1994 .
  43. Back to top↑ Jackson, 2009 .
  44. Back to top↑ «Inheritance» . POV . Public Broadcasting Service. 2011 . Accessed April 26, 2014 .
  45. Back to top↑ «Hitler’s Children» . International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. 2011 . Accessed April 26, 2014 .
  46. Back to top↑ Schaaf, 2013 .
  47. ↑ Jump to:a b c Registration service in the SS, NARA .
  48. Back to top↑ Fitzgibbon, 2000 .
  49. Back to top↑ Höß, 1996 .