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Camp Commandant Amon Goeth, infamous from the movie “Schindler’s List”, standing on his balcony preparing to shoot prisoners, 1943


Amon Leopold Goth (German: Amon Goth), the villain of Schindler's List, was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1908. At the age of 24 he joined the Nazi Party. In 1940, Amon Goethe became a member of the Waffen-SS.

He was assigned to the SS Headquarters for Operation Reinhardt in Lublin in German-occupied Poland in 1942. Operation Reinhardt was a plan to remove Jews from the ghetto in Poland into three death camps: Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec, all of which were in eastern Poland.

In February 1943, Goethe was promoted and became the third SS officer to serve as commandant of the Plazzo labor camp.

While he was commandant of Plazzo, Goethe was assigned to oversee the liquidation of the Podgorz ghetto and later the labor camp at Zebny on March 13, 1943. The liquidation of the Podgorz ghetto in Krakow is featured in the film Schindler's List.


On 3 September 1943, in addition to his duties at the Plazzo, Goethe was the officer in charge of the liquidation of another ghetto in Tarno, which at the start of World War I was home to 25,000 Jews (about 45 percent of the city's population). Second. By the time the ghetto was liquidated, there were 8,000 Jews left.

They were loaded onto a train to Auschwitz concentration camp, but less than half survived the journey. Most of the survivors were deemed unfit for forced labor and were promptly murdered upon arrival at Auschwitz.

According to the testimony of several witnesses, as recorded in his 1946 war crimes indictment, Goethe personally shot between 30 and 90 women and children during the liquidation of the ghetto.


In early 1944 the status of the Kraków-Plaszów labor camp changed to a permanent concentration camp under the direct authority of the SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungschoptum. It was during this earlier period that Goethe committed most of the random and brutal murders for which he became notorious.

Concentration camps were more closely monitored by the SS than labor camps, so conditions improved slightly when the designation changed.

When the camp opened there were about 2,000 prisoners. At its peak in 1944, a staff of 636 guards supervised 25,000 permanent prisoners, and an additional 150,000 people passed through the camp in its role as a transit camp. Goethe personally used to murder prisoners on a daily basis.

Two of his dogs, Rolf and Ralph, were trained to put prisoners to death. He shot people from the window of his office if they were moving too slowly or were resting in the yard.

He shot and killed a Jewish cook because the soup was too hot. He brutally abused his two maids, Helen Jonas-Rosenzwig and Helen Hirsch, who, like all prisoners, were in constant fear for their lives.



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