Amon Göth was born on 11 December 1908
. He worked as
an author and was divorced with two children. Göth joined the NSDAP in
(NSDAP number 510764). In 1940
he became an SS-man
(SS number 43673). His final rank was SS-Hauptsturmführer
Following the outbreak of WW2 Göth served in
the SS- und Polizeiführer Lublin
, as part of
. During 1942
he directed brutal clearances of small ghettos in the
district, for example during the
deportations from the Belzyce
ghetto 700 Jews were deported to the
death camp. He organised the selections
in this ghetto and around 500 people who bribed him, were selected for work in the
Budzyn labour camp
, near Krasnik
Göth was responsible for the construction works in
. Because of his corruption, he was in a personal conflict with
SS-Sturmbannführer Hermann Höfle
, the chief staff officer
of Aktion Reinhard
. So Göth was ordered from
February 1943 where he was nominated by SS- und Polizeiführer Scherner
to command the Krakow-Plaszow
forced labour camp. There he was promoted to
in July 1943
, who worked in the Plaszow
camp office, testified
during Göth’s trial that he had managed to look at
Göth’s personal files and had found a letter from
, commander of the
addressed to the commanders of Belzec, Sobibor
. The letter authorised
Göth to have access to all areas of those extermination camps, for
administration or possibly construction inspections. Under the direction of
SS-Sturmbannführer Willi Haase
Göth conducted the final liquidation of the
ghetto, which began
on 13 March 1943
. SS officers Kunde
also assisted with the ghetto clearance, during which mass
murders were committed. On the orders of Haase
, 75 persons
were killed in one place.
Göth’s reign of terror at Plaszow
from February 1943 to September 1944
, when he was arrested by the SS for
misappropriation of funds. Göth governed the camp in a calculatedly brutal manner. For the slightest
offence he fired at prisoners or ordered others to do, and public hangings were frequent.
Göth had two dogs called Ralf and Rolf, both trained to attack and savage
prisoners. Many people lost their lives after being attacked by these dogs.
When children were being removed from Plaszow
Göth ordered the camp orchestra to play nursery songs such as "Mami kauf mir ein Pferdchen" (Mum,
buy me a little horse), while their mothers were forced to stand on the parade ground and witness their
children being transported to their deaths.
|Göth, Camp in the Background
|Göth's House *
Former prisoner Henryk Bloch
Göth’s trial in 1946
"Göth ordered his deputy to start beating us.
He went away to have his lunch. We were then taken
to the back, next to the house he lived in. Two tables were brought, also buckets of water, and they started beating
us directly on naked flesh. Göth ordered that everyone should receive
100 times each, but everyone received more than 200 and even 300. Every prisoner had to count every strike
loudly, if a mistake was made in the count by him, the beating started afresh from number one. We were not
beaten by one person, they were taking turns, as one man would tire very quickly, having to hit someone 100 times
with full strength. The whip would be passed to another SS man there. It was impossible, being
hit so many times, to count properly, people were making mistakes, and the beatings were starting afresh.
And so the beatings went on and on, the tables were covered in blood, as every hit meant a fresh cut in
someone’s flesh. As anyone went off the table, he was virtually one bloody mass of cut flesh.
|Living Room, in 2004
Everyone getting off the table was ordered to report standing to attention, I report humbly that I have received my
sentence. In the course of all this, one man screamed terribly. Göth
shouted at him to calm down, to count. The man did not calm down... Göth
approached him, picked up half a brick off the ground, went to the table on which the man was being beaten,
and from a very close distance struck him on the head with the brick, splitting his head. The beating of that
man continued uninterrupted, then pouring of water and beating again. Covered in blood, with a split head,
he went off the table, approaching Göth, he reported he had received
his penalty. He was ordered to go away, and as the man turned, he pulled
out his revolver, firing into the back of the man’s head.
This man’s name was Mr Meitlis
"When all were beaten, which took from 12 until 3 p.m., we were all taken to the police station,
and there Göth ordered doctors from the camp hospital to come to us. He did not
allow anyone to be taken to the hospital. Practically all of this group died in
Plaszow, the wounds would
not heal, the flesh was continually infected, it was rotting on us whilst we were still alive.
Following two actions in Tarnow
, 6,000 Jews were deported to
death camp in June 1942
a second resettlement action took place. During the first days of September 1943
Goeth was in charge of the final liquidation of the ghetto, with a force of 200 SS-men. He personally
killed dozens of people, with shots from his revolver.
, a mechanic, testified at Göth’s trial:
|Göth, at his House
|Ruth Irene Kalder, "Majola"
"There was "Ghetto A" for those working, and "Ghetto B" for those that were unemployed.
Göth ordered everyone employed from "Ghetto A" to go to "Ghetto B",
and assemble there in groups, according to their employer. Every group had a board indicating the name of
the employer. Then Göth selected a group of 300 persons as
a Säuberungskolonne (clearing column). The Jews assembled once again separately. At that point a
fiancée of one of the Jewish men approached Göth, her name was
Batista, begging him to allow her to stay with her fiancée, who was
remaining. He refused, she begged him once again, he ordered her to turn around and fired into her head.
She fell dead, and after that he separated all the people again, he took out those that should go to
Plaszow, and those that were left behind remained on the
The total number killed during the clearance was 4,000, including many women and children.
Around 10,000 people were taken to Plaszow
. During the Aktion
completely liquidated "Ghetto B". For a whole day after the Aktion
lorries collected the remains of those killed
in the streets and buildings and took them to Plaszow
for burial in a mass grave.
From September 1943 to February 1944
Göth conducted the progressive
liquidation of the forced labour camp in Szebnie
. The liquidation began on 21 September 1943
with the killing of 700 Jewish prisoners who were driven in lorries to a forest in
, 3 km from the
camp, where they were shot. This "action" was carried out by SS-Haupscharführer
and supervised by the commander
, acting on orders from Göth.
|Göth on his Way
to the Courthouse *
During these ghetto liquidations Göth took every opportunity to enrich
himself with furniture, furs, clothing, jewellery, tobacco and alcohol. The Gestapo
found the stored goods
(Czechoslovakia), together with
Ruth Irene Kalder
Göth was accused of larceny of Jewish property (which of course was
regarded as property of the German Reich
), and arrested on 13 September 1944
That was the end of his career.
After the war he was extradited to Poland at the request of the Polish authorities and
before the Polish Supreme Court on charges of committing mass murder during the liquidations of the ghettos at
, the camp at
and the Plaszow
camp. He was
sentenced to death in Krakow
on 5 September 1946
and hung there on 13 September 1946
, defiantly saluting to
. Göth's body was cremated and his ashes scattered into the river.
Robin O'Neil Collection
The trial of Goeth - From the Robin O’Neil Collection
The Encyclopaedia of The Holocaust
The Final Solution - G. Reitlinger
© ARC 2005