Ammon Leopold Goeth
The Nazi Butcher
December 11, 1908-September 13, 1946
Ammon Leopold Goth was raised in a proper upper-middle class Viennese Catholic home. During his college years Goth acquired interest in fascism and Nazism, which were the competitive political movements of his time. On May 31, 1931, he acquired full Nazi membership and later become a prestigious group member of the Nazi Party. Goth fled to Germany when he was pursued by Austrian authorities for crimes involving explosives. His superior officers admired his devotion, gave him glowing personal evaluations and transferred him to the S.S. Because it was required of all SS to be married Ammon married Anny Goth on October 23, 1938, and together they bore three children. The conditions of life at Plaszow were made dreadful by Amon Goth. A prisoner in Plaszow was lucky if he survived more than four weeks. Collective punishment became frequent, torture and death were daily events.
At Plaszow Amon Goth passed his mornings by using his high-powered, scoped rifle to shoot at children playing in the camp. Rena Finder, one of Schindler’s Jews then 14 years old, later remembered Goeth as ” …. the most vicious and sadistic man …”. Another Schindler-Jew, Poldek Pfefferberg, recalled Goeth this way: “When you saw Goeth, you saw death.” A survivor, Arthur Kuhnreich, later told about Amon Goth in his Holocaust memories “I saw Goeth set his dog on a Jewish prisoner. The dog tore the victim apart. When he did not move anymore, Goeth shot him.”
Amon Goth was arrested in the autumn of 1944 in connection with an investigation of corruption and black market activities in the camps. At the trial at the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland, Cracow, 27th – 31st August and 2nd – 5th September, 1946, Goth was found guilty and convicted of the murders of tens of thousands of people. During his trial Goth displayed provocative indifference. He accepted responsibility for what happened at Plaszow. He had been given authority and permission to do everything he had done, he said, and was only carrying out orders and instructions received from his superiors. He also contended that the penalties he was inflicting upon the inmates including putting them to death, were within his disciplinary jurisdiction as commandant of the camp, and were in accordance with the German regulations in force. Amon Goeth was hanged for his crimes on September 13, 1946, not far from his camp. And even though he is being hanged, Amon Goeth still salutes his Fuhrer in a final act of defiance.