Scrapbookpages Blog

February 14, 2017

Famous house that was shown in the movie Schindler’s List

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, movies, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 7:30 am

You can read a recent news article about Amon Goeth at http://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/petition-to-conserve-schindlers-list-nazi-torture-house/

To refresh your memory, Amon Goeth was a German military officer, who shot prisoners, that were working in the Plasow camp, with a high-powered rifle, from the balcony on the back of his house.

The prisoners were working in an area that was on the other side of the house, but Goeth had a special rifle that could shoot over a house. [just kidding]

View of the back of Amon Goeth;s house

The front of Amon Goeth’s house today

plaszow08

My 1998 photo of the front of the house

My photo directly above, taken in 1998, shows the front of the house where Amon Goeth lived during the time that he was the Commandant of the Plaszow camp near Krakow, Poland. His mistress, who had been introduced to him by Oskar Schindler, lived with him in this house.

The house has apparently been remodeled, and it only vaguely resembles the original house.

The photo below shows the back of the house, which has a balcony on the top floor.

Tourists view the back of Goeth's house

Tourists view the back of Goeth’s house

The photo above shows a tour group standing behind the house where Amon Goeth formerly lived. At the top of the photo is the famous balcony from which Goeth allegedly shot prisoners at random with a high-powered rifle.

Goeth’s house was on top of a hill which overlooked a concentration camp where prisoners were forced to work.

The novel, Schindler’s Ark, upon which Spielberg’s movie is based, mentions that Goeth stepped out of the front door of a “temporary residence” and shot prisoners at random.

Later when Goeth moved into the three-story white house on Jerozolimska Street, he shot prisoners from his balcony, according to the novel Schindler’s List.

In the movie, Schindler’s List, Goeth is shown standing on the balcony in the rear of his house, shooting prisoners, who were not working fast enough, using a high-powered rifle. According to my tour guide, Goeth actually shot prisoners from a hill overlooking the Plaszow camp because Goeth’s house was located behind this hill.

The old photo below shows Goeth standing on the balcony from which he allegedly shot prisoners in the camp, which was located on the other side of the house.

Goeth standing on he balcony behind his house

Goeth standing on the balcony behind his house

Amon Goeth was married and had two children, who were living in Vienna, while he was working as the Commandant of the Plaszow camp; his wife divorced him in 1944.

Goeth had been previously married and his first wife had divorced him in 1934, according to the book entitled “Schindler,” written by David Crowe.

Like Oskar Schindler, whose wife did not accompany him to Krakow, Goeth took a mistress, Ruth Irene Kalder, who was one of Oskar Schindler’s secretaries. Goeth lived lavishly and drank heavily, just like his friend Schindler.

Goeth’s mistress remained loyal to him and kept a photograph of Amon on her night table until the day she died.

In an interview with a British journalist in 1983, Ruth Irene Kalder, described Goeth as a charming man with impeccable table manners. She said that she never regretted, for one second, her relationship with Amon, which began when she was 25 years old. Kalder committed suicide in 1983, on the day after this interview.

Allegedly, Ruth Irene had become distraught when she learned that the 82-minute documentary, which the journalist was making, was not just about Oskar Schindler, but would include a negative portrayal of her former lover, Amon Goeth, who was also the father of her love child, Monika, born in November 1945.

Kalder was a young, beautiful woman with a slender figure, a former actress and an experienced secretary; why she chose to live with a monster like Amon Goeth remains a mystery to this day.

 

November 20, 2016

Defending my blog posts about Schindler’s list

Filed under: Holocaust, movies, TV shows, Uncategorized — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 9:18 am
Amon Goeth stand on the balcony in the rear of his house

Amon Goeth standing on the patio in the rear of his house

Over the years, I have written several blog posts about the movie entitled Schindler’s List.  Before that, I wrote about Schindler’s List on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Kazimierz/Kazimierz01C.html

Now the subject of Schindler’s List has come up in a recent comment on my blog, written by a newb who knows nothing.

To understand the movie Schinder’s List, start by reading this blog post which I wrote five years ago in 2011: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/schindlers-list-the-movie-is-fiction-fiction-fiction-part-2/

Then move on to a blog post, which I wrote in 2010: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/did-oskar-schindler-save-1200-jews-from-certain-death/

I am now 83 years old, and literally on my death bed. I don’t want to spend the last years of my life arguing about whether, or not, Amon Goeth shot Jews from his second-floor balcony or from a spot on the ground in the rear of his house.

In 1998, I made a trip to Poland, accompanied by a tour guide, who took me to see the house where Amon Goeth was living when he allegedly shot prisoners from his balcony. The balcony, and the patio, are both at the rear of the house. Did Amon Goeth have a special rifle that could shoot over the house and hit prisoners who were working in the camp, a mile away?  I don’t think so.

March 3, 2015

Did Amon Goeth have the authority to order executions?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 8:20 am
Amon Goeth's mugshot after he was arrested by the Germans

Amon Goeth’s mugshot after he was arrested by the Germans

In my blog post today, I am answering a comment made by one of my readers. The comment is quoted below:

“So he [Amon Goeth] didn’t shoot from the balcony. That excuses the thousands upon thousans whose deaths he ordered? Where did you study convoluted logic and denial at? You ought to have a master’s degree.”

Here is my answer to this question:

Several years ago, I went to visit the spot where the Plaszow camp was formerly located. I also visited a small museum in Krakow, where I copied Goeth’s mugshot photo at the top  of this page. Goeth had been arrested by the Germans for stealing from the warehouses of the Plaszow camp.

I read several books about Amon Goeth where I studied “convoluted logic and denial.”  In all my study of this subject, I never learned that Amon Goeth had had the authority to order thousands of deaths.

Amon Goeth, the commander of the Plaszow camp

Amon Goeth, the commander of the Plaszow camp

As the commandant of the Plaszow camp, Goeth had been ordered to carry out the executions that were ordered by others. These executions took place at the Plaszow camp. The people who were executed were not prisoners in  the Plaszow camp.

According to David Crowe’s book, entitled Oscar Schindler,  Wilek Chilowicz was a Jewish prisoner, who was the head of the OD, the Jewish police at Plaszow. Crowe wrote that “Göth sought permission to murder Chilowicz and several other prominent OD men in the camp on false charges.”

In all the Nazi concentration camps, the staff had to get permission from headquarters in Oranienburg to punish a prisoner, but punishment did not include murder.

Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen was a Waffen-SS officer and attorney, whom Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had put in charge of investigating murder, corruption and mistreatment of prisoners in all the Nazi concentration camps in 1943. Dr. Morgen’s first investigation had resulted in the arrest of Karl Otto Koch, the Commandant of Buchenwald, and his later execution by the Nazis.

According to David Crowe’s book, Goeth asked one of his SS officers, Josef Sowinski, to prepare a detailed, false report about a potential camp rebellion led by Chilowicz and other OD men. Based on this report, Koppe sent a secret letter to Goeth giving him the authority to carry out the execution of Chilowicz and several other OD men. The execution took place on August 13, 1944; Goeth was arrested exactly a month later and charged by Dr. Morgen with corruption and brutality, including the murder of Wilek Chilowicz and several others.

The office in Oranienburg did not have the authority to give an execution order; an execution could only be authorized by the Gestapo in Berlin.

Due to the fact that Germany was losing the war and the SS now had bigger problems, Goeth was never put on trial in Dr. Morgen’s court and this was the last investigation done by the SS.

After the war, Dr. Morgen was arrested as a “war criminal,” and imprisoned in the bunker at the Dachau concentration camp, which had been converted into “War Crimes Enclosure No. 1” by the American military. According to David Crowe’s book, Wilek Chilowicz was the head of the OD, the Jewish police at Plaszow. He wrote that “Göth sought permission to murder Chilowicz and several other prominent OD men in the camp on false charges.” In all the Nazi concentration camps, the staff had to get permission from headquarters in Oranienburg to punish a prisoner, but punishment did not include murder.

Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen was a Waffen-SS officer and attorney whom Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had put in charge of investigating murder, corruption and mistreatment of prisoners in all the Nazi concentration camps in 1943. Dr. Morgen’s first investigation had resulted in the arrest of Karl Otto Koch, the Commandant of Buchenwald, and his later execution by the Nazis. When Goeth realized that he was being investigated by Dr. Morgen, he sought permission from Wilhelm Koppe in the central office in Oranienburg to execute Wilek Chilowicz, who could have testified against him.

Amon Goeth leaves the courtroom in Poland after he was convicted of war crimes

Amon Goeth leaves the courtroom in Poland after he was convicted of war crimes

After World War II ended, the American military turned Amon Goeth over to the Polish government for prosecution as a war criminal. He was brought before the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland in Krakow. His trial took place between August 27, 1946 and September 5, 1946. Goeth was charged with being a member of the Nazi party and a member of the Waffen-SS, Hitler’s elite army, both of which had been designated as criminal organizations by the Allies after the war. His crimes included the charges that he had taken part in the activities of these two criminal organizations. The crime of being a Nazi applied only to Nazi officials, and Goeth had never held a job as a Nazi official. In fact, at the time of Goeth’s conviction by the Polish court, the judgment against the SS and the Nazi party as criminal organizations had not yet been made by the Nuremberg IMT.

At Goeth’s trial, the Nazi party was said to be “an organization which, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, through aggressive wars, violence and other crimes, aimed at world domination and establishment of the National-Socialist regime.” Amon Goeth was accused of personally issuing orders to deprive people of freedom, to ill-treat and exterminate individuals and whole groups of people. His crimes, including the newly created crime of genocide, came under a new law of the Allies, called Crimes against Humanity.

The charges against Amon Goeth were as follows:

(1) The accused as commandant of the forced labour camp at Plaszow (Cracow) from 11th February, 1943, till 13th September, 1944, caused the death of about 8,000 inmates by ordering a large number of them to be exterminated.

Plateau at Plaszow camp where 8,000 people were executed

Plateau at Plaszow camp where 8,000 people were executed

(2) As a SS-Sturmführer the accused carried out on behalf of SS-Sturmbannführer Willi Haase the final closing down of the Cracow ghetto. This liquidation action which began on 13th March, 1943, deprived of freedom about 10,000 people who had been interned in the camp of Plaszow, and caused the death of about 2,000.

(3) As a SS-Hauptsturmführer the accused carried out on 3rd September, 1943, the closing down of the Tarnow ghetto. As a result of this action an unknown number of people perished, having been killed on the spot in Tarnow; others died through asphyxiation during transport by rail or were exterminated in other camps, in particular at Auschwitz.

(4) Between September, 1943, and 3rd February, 1944, the accused closed down the forced labour camp at Szebnie near Jaslo by ordering the inmates to be murdered on the spot or deported to other camps, thus causing the death of several thousand persons.

(5) Simultaneously with the activities described under (1) to (4) the accused deprived the inmates of valuables, gold and money deposited by them, and appropriated those things. He also stole clothing, furniture and other movable property belonging to displaced or interned people, and sent them to Germany. The value of stolen goods and in particular of valuables reached many million zlotys at the rate of exchange in force at the time.

The last charge, as stated in number (5) above, was the crime for which he had been arrested by the Gestapo on September 13, 1944, after an investigation by Waffen-SS officer Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen.

 

October 22, 2013

Family of deceased “Righteous among Nations” award recipient rejects highest Jewsish honor

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 12:51 pm

One of the most famous recipients of the Jewish honor, known as “Righteous among Nations” was Oskar Schindler who saved 1,200 Jews from certain death, as told in the famous Spielberg film Schindler’s List.

Family members of the first Arab to be given this prestigious honor “have rejected the accolade because of their hatred for Israel,” according to a news article which you can read in full here.

According to the article: “Egyptian doctor Mohamed Helmy was honored posthumously last month by Israel’s Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem for hiding a Jew in Berlin during wartime.”

So an Arab has been honored for saving only one Jew?  The Jews at Yad Vashem must be scraping the bottom of the barrel to find non-Jews who saved at least one Jew during World War II.

Most non-Jews had no sympathy for the Jews during the Holocaust, and did not want to risk their own lives to hide a Jew.

Plaszow camp from which Oskar Schindler saved Jews

Plaszow camp from which Oskar Schindler saved Jews

When Oskar Schindler left his factory, which was a sub-camp of the Gross-Rosen concentration camp, to escape from the Nazis at the end of the war, he was given a ring by the Jewish prisoners whom he had saved.

The ring had been made by the prisoners, who  used gold from the dental work taken out of the mouth of Schindlerjude Simon Jeret. The ring was inscribed “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.”  Is this what it really said inside the gold ring made by the Jewish prisoners?  Some Holocaust deniers claim that the ring said: “He who saves ONE JEW saves the world entire.”

Do the Jews really believe that saving the life of one goyim is the same as saving the life of one Jew?

German officers at the Belzec death camp

German officers at the Belzec death camp

In the news article, this caption is on the photo above:  “Brave: Dr Mohamed Helmy secretly hid Anna Boros in his cottage near Berlin to save her from being sent to a death camp like Belzec, in occupied Poland, pictured, guarded by armed Nazis.”

Amon Goeth, commandant of Plasow camp

Amon Goeth, commandant of Plasow camp

Wait a minute!  That “Nazi monster” Amon Goeth saved Jews from being sent to the Belzec death camp when he accepted bribes in exchange for sending these doomed Jews to a labor camp instead. Goeth should be given a posthumous award for saving hundreds of Jews from certain death at Belzec.  An Egyptian doctor saved one Jewish girl in Berlin and he gets Israel’s highest award for a non-Jew.  And then, his family rejects the award. Allegedly, there were 10,000 Jews who hid in Germany and were never sent to a Nazi camp.  There could be as many as 10,000 Righteous Gentiles in Germany who deserve a Yad Vashem award.

March 6, 2013

What is the meaning of the girl in the Red Coat in Schindler’s List?

The girl in the red coat in the movie Schindler's List

The girl in the red coat in the movie Schindler’s List

Schindler’s List is now out on Blu-Ray and there is renewed interest in this fictional movie.  The photo above shows one of the scenes from the movie, which is loosely based on history.

In March 1941, the Jews in the area of Krakow, Poland had been put into a walled ghetto in Podgorze, a district of Krakow. This ghetto is depicted in the movie, Schindler’s List, but the actual scenes were filmed nearby in the old Jewish quarter called Kazimierz because there are modern buildings in Podgorze now, while Kazimierz was still in its original state in 1993.

Jews are being forced to move into the Podgorze ghetto

Jews are being forced to move into the Podgorze ghetto

On March 13, 1943, a Saturday, the Podgorze ghetto in Krakow, Poland was officially closed and around 6,000 Jews who were able to work were sent to the Plaszow forced labor camp, while around 2,000 children and old people were sent to other camps, including Auschwitz II, also known as Birkenau, which was both a labor camp and a death camp.

The next stage of the Final Solution for the Krakow Jews was the liquidation of the Podgorze ghetto and the transportation of the remaining Jews to the forced labor camp at Plaszow on March 13 and 14, 1943. Before the liquidation of the ghetto, there were 2,000 prisoners at the Plaszow camp, all of them Jews. Afterwards, the camp population rose to 8,000. At this point, Plaszow was still not a concentration camp, but a penal labor camp under the jurisdiction of local SS men in the General Government, as the central section of occupied Poland was called by the Nazis. According to the novel Schindler’s Ark, it was because Plaszow was a labor camp, under local authority, that the random killing of prisoners by Amon Goeth did not command much attention among the top brass. The novel Schindler’s Ark explains that executions and floggings at all of the concentration camps had to be approved by the central administrative office in Berlin, but not at the labor camps.

Until the middle of 1943, all the prisoners at the Plaszow forced labor camp were Jews. In July 1943, a separate section was fenced off for Polish prisoners who were sent to the camp for breaking the laws of the German occupational government. Polish prisoners served their sentences and were then released from the prison. The Jews remained in the camp indefinitely. Many Jews were sent on to the Auschwitz concentration camp, only 60 kilometers southwest of Krakow.

The Schindler Jews at first lived in the Plaszow camp and walked 2.5 kilometers to and from Schindler’s enamelware factory each day. The factory was in an ordinary-looking, modern, but dreary building in Krakow. Then Schindler bribed Plaszow Commandant Amon Goeth to let his workers move into barracks which he built in the courtyard of the factory. Schindler himself lived in a nondescript gray apartment building close to his factory. When I visited Krakow in 1998, Schindler’s factory building was being used by an electronics factory called Toplar. It is now a Museum for tourists.

There were many small sub-camps, such as the Schindler factory, in the Nazi labor camp system, but none where the prisoners were so well treated. The Nazis provided food for the Schindler Jews, but Schindler spent the equivalent of $360,000 to provide extra food, which he bought on the black market, for his prisoners.

One day, Oskar Schindler was out riding his horse, along a bridal path on a hill overlooking the Podgorze ghetto, when he saw the girl in the red coat among the Jews being marched out of the ghetto, walking on their way to the Plaszow camp.

View of the ghetto from the hill where Oskar Schindler saw the girl in the red coat

View of the ghetto from the hill where Oskar Schindler saw the girl in the red coat

In the photo above, you can see a red car, driving on Krakusa Street, where Oskar Schindler saw the girl in the red coat.

The photo below shows the bridal path along the edge of the hill overlooking Krakusa Street. This is where Schindler looked down from his horse and saw 7,000 Jews being marched out of the Podgorze ghetto, according to the novel, Schindler’s Ark. The bridal path was overgrown with trees when I took this photo in 1998.

The bridal path where Oskar Schindler was riding when he saw the girl in the red coat

The bridal path where Oskar Schindler was riding when he saw the girl in the red coat

The only non-Jewish inhabitant of the Podgorze ghetto was a master pharmacist named Tadeusz Pankiewicz. His Eagle Pharmacy was located at #18 on the cobble-stoned Plac Zgody which was the main square where selections took place and from where transports of Jews were sent to the Belzec death camp. I previously blogged here about how Amon Goeth took bribes from the Jews in exchange for not sending them to Belzec.

In 1993, the same year that the movie Schindler’s List was filmed, the Eagle Pharmacy building was turned into a National Memorial Museum. I visited the museum in 1998 and saw  displays which showed pictures of the roundup and deportation of the Jews of Krakow. There was also a photo of Amon Goeth on display.

In 1947, Tadeusz Pankiewicz published his memoirs called The Pharmacy in the Krakow Ghetto. It is an account of how his pharmacy became a meeting place for the Jews in the ghetto where they could get information from the underground press. Letters were sent from and received at the pharmacy. It was also a hiding place for Jews whom the Nazis were trying to arrest for violations of their laws. According to the novel Schindler’s Ark, the pharmacy was where messages were passed between the Jewish Combat Organization (ZOB) and the partisans of the Polish People’s Army, the two main groups which fought the Nazis in guerrilla warfare during World War II. In the movie, Schindler’s List, there is no mention of how Jewish partisans resisted the Nazis and helped to defeat the Germans in World War II.

So what does all this have to do with the girl in the red coat?  In the novel, Schindler’s Ark, Oskar Schindler sees the body of the little girl in the red coat and at that point, he realizes that he should do something to save the Jews.  Prior to this, Schindler had only been concerned with making lots of money by using the labor of Jews from the Podgorze ghetto. Using the labor of non-Jewish workers in his factory would have been at a much higher cost.

Did all this really happen?  No, the girl in the red coat is symbolic, although she is based on a real girl in the ghetto, who was not killed.

The following quote is from an article in the Huffington Post about the movie Schindler’s List, which you can read in full here:

The name Oliwia Dabrowska holds little meaning to film buffs, but the 23-year-old’s first movie role was quite significant. Dabrowska played “Red Genia” or the “girl in the red coat” in Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List.” […]

Dabrowska’s “red coat girl” has been the subject of much discussion and interpretation since “Schindler’s List” was released in 1993. The character bore surface similarities to Holocaust survivor Roma Ligocka, who was known for her red coat in the Krakow Ghetto, and wrote a memoir about her experiences. (Unlike Ligocka, Dabrowska’s “red coat girl” died in “Schindler’s List.”) Spielberg himself has said the significance of the red coat, the only splash of color in the black-and-white film, has more to do with reminding viewers of the way citizens of the world allowed the Holocaust to happen:

[ Spielberg said this] “America and Russia and England all knew about the Holocaust when it was happening, and yet we did nothing about it. We didn’t assign any of our forces to stopping the march toward death, the inexorable march toward death. It was a large bloodstain, primary red color on everyone’s radar, but no one did anything about it. And that’s why I wanted to bring the color red in.”

This quote from Wikipedia also gives the same words spoken by Steven Spielberg:

While the film is shot primarily in black-and-white, red is used to distinguish a little girl in a coat (portrayed by Oliwia Dabrowska). Later in the film, the girl appears to be one of the dead Jewish people, recognizable only by the red coat she is still wearing. Although it was unintentional, this character is coincidentally very similar to Roma Ligocka, who was known in the Kraków Ghetto for her red coat. Ligocka, unlike her fictional counterpart, survived the Holocaust. After the film was released, she wrote and published her own story, The Girl in the Red Coat: A Memoir (2002, in translation).[18] The scene, however, was constructed on the memories of Zelig Burkhut, survivor of Plaszow (and other work camps). When interviewed by Spielberg before the film was made, Burkhut told of a young girl wearing a pink coat, no older than four, who was shot by a Nazi officer right before his eyes. When being interviewed by The Courier-Mail, he said “it is something that stays with you forever.”

According to Andy Patrizio of IGN, the girl in the red coat is used to indicate that Schindler has changed: “Spielberg put a twist on her [Ligocka’s] story, turning her into one more pile on the cart of corpses to be incinerated. The look on Schindler’s face is unmistakable. Minutes earlier, he saw the ash and soot of burning corpses piling up on his car as just an annoyance.”[19] Andre Caron wondered whether it was done “to symbolize innocence, hope or the red blood of the Jewish people being sacrificed in the horror of the Holocaust?”[20] Spielberg himself has explained that he only followed the novel, and his interpretation was that

“America and Russia and England all knew about the Holocaust when it was happening, and yet we did nothing about it. We didn’t assign any of our forces to stopping the march toward death, the inexorable march toward death. It was a large bloodstain, primary red color on everyone’s radar, but no one did anything about it. And that’s why I wanted to bring the color red in.”[21]

This quote, about the girl in the red coat, is also from Wikipedia:

Schindler prepares to leave Kraków with his fortune. He finds himself unable to do so, however, and prevails upon Goeth to allow him to keep his workers so he can move them to a factory in his old home of Zwittau-Brinnlitz, away from the Final Solution. Goeth charges a massive bribe for each worker. Schindler and Stern assemble a list of workers to be kept off the trains to Auschwitz.

[…]   The train carrying the women is accidentally redirected to Auschwitz. Schindler bribes the camp commander, Rudolf Höß, with a cache of diamonds in exchange for releasing the women to Brinnlitz.

Contrary to what Wikipedia says, Schindler did NOT “prevail upon Goeth to allow him to keep his workers.”  By that point in the movie, Goeth had been arrested by the Nazis and he was awaiting trial in Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen’s court.  Goeth had disappeared from the movie and nothing more was said about him.

Schindler and Stern did NOT assemble a list of workers to be kept off the trains to Auschwitz.  Schindler’s famous list was a list of workers to be sent to the Gross Rosen concentration camp because Schindler was setting up a sub-camp of Gross Rosen near his old home town.

Rudolf Höß was NOT the “camp commander” at the time that Schindler bribed someone to release the women to Brinnlitz.

Rudolf Hoess is shown on the right

Rudolf Hoess is shown on the right in this photo from the Auschwitz Album

Dr. Josef Mengele, the man who selected Jews for the gas chamber at the Birkenau death camp, is shown in the center of the photo above. On his left is Richard Baer, the last commandant of the Auschwitz main camp and on his right is Rudolf Höß (aka Rudolf Hoess), who had been the first Commandant of the whole Auschwitz complex; he was given this assignment on May 1, 1940. Höß was relieved of his duties as the Commandant of the Auschwitz complex at the end of November 1943 and promoted to a position in the Economic Administration Head Office (WHVA) in Oranienburg.

On May 8, 1944, Höß was brought back to Auschwitz to be the Commander of the SS men at Auschwitz and to supervise the gassing of the Hungarian Jews. (According to Laurence Rees, in his book Auschwitz, a New History, Hoess was also given authority over the Commandants of the Auschwitz II and Auschwitz III camps when he came back in May 1944.)  Auschwitz II was Auschwitz-Birkenau, the death camp.

I believe that Spielberg is completely wrong in his claim that “America and Russia and England all knew about the Holocaust when it was happening, and yet we did nothing about it.”  What is today known as “the Holocaust” was mostly unknown until many years after World War II.

What was the real reason that Oskar Schindler made up a list of Jews to be saved from certain death.

Oskar Schindler’s real motive, in making a list of 1200 Jews to be saved, was to save his own skin, NOT to save these 1200 Jews.

Schindler knew that he would be put on trial as a war criminal, after the war, because he was the commander of a sub-camp of the Plaszow camp. He knew that the Allies had made up ex-post-facto war crimes, under which the Germans would be prosecuted as war criminals after the war.

Schindler knew that the Allies had already made up new laws, such as the “common plan” principle, under which the war criminals would be prosecuted.  Under the “common plan” concept, anyone who had any connection to a concentration camp, in any capacity whatsoever, would be automatically guilty of a war crime.

By saving 1200 Jews in a new sub-camp of the Gross Rosen concentration camp, he would have a defense to the “common plan” principle. He would have 1200 Jews to put in a good word for him and save him.

That is exactly what happened: Schindler was not put on trial after the war, and the Jews that he had saved took care of him for the rest of his life.

February 10, 2013

youngest survivor on Schindler’s List has died at the age of 83

Filed under: Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 1:38 pm

Leon Leyson, who was 13 years old, when his name was put on Schindler’s List, has died in Los Angeles, CA at the age of 83.  You can read the news of his death here.

This quote is from the news article about his death:

Because of Schindler’s interventions and after being ultimately placed on his list of workers which meant they were save from the death camps, Leon survived alongside his parents and an older brother and sister.

His other two brothers were killed.

“Five of us survived the war, this is the bottom line, out of everyone who was related to me in Poland. And we survived because we were on Schindler’s list,” Leon said during an interview in 2008 on NBC4.

On June 1, 2010, I blogged about Leon Leyson and Schindler’s List here.

I am re-posting part of my original blog post from 2010:

Scene from the movie Shindler's List

Scene from the movie Shindler’s List

Schindler did not personally make up the “List of Jews” for his factory, as it was portrayed in the movie. David Crowe wrote a book entitled Oskar Schindler, in which he revealed that the movie scene, shown in the photo above, is pure fiction.

According to Crowe, Oskar Schindler had no role in preparing the famous list, other than giving SS-Hauptscharführer Franz Josef Müller some general guidelines for the type of workers he wanted on the list.

Amon Göth, the Commandant of the Plaszow camp, who shot prisoners from his balacony in the movie, had been arrested by the SS on September 13, 1944 and was in prison in Breslau when the list was prepared, but this is not mentioned in the movie.  Göth just disappears in the movie and no one notices that he is gone.

David Crowe wrote that the person responsible for the preparation of Schindler’s List was Marcel Goldberg, a corrupt Jewish prisoner at the Plaszow camp, who was a member of the Ordnungdienst, the camp’s Jewish police force. Goldberg was the assistant of SS-Hauptscharführer Franz Josef Müller, the SS man responsible for the transport lists. Only about one third of the Jews on the list had previously worked in Schindler’s factory in Krakow.

The novel, Schindler’s Ark tells about how Goldberg accepted bribes from the prisoners who wanted to get on the list.

In his book Oskar Schindler, David Crowe wrote:

“… watch how Steven Spielberg traces the story of Marcel Goldberg, the real author of Schindler’s List, in his film. He begins in the early part of the film with Goldberg sitting near Leopold “Poldek” Page and other Jewish black marketeers in Krakow’s Marjacki Bazylika (church) as Oskar Schindler tries to interest them in doing business with a German. What follows throughout the rest of the film is the subtle tale of Goldberg’s gradual moral degeneration. Schindler, for example, gives Itzhak Stern first a lighter, then a cigarette case, and finally a watch to bribe Goldberg to send more Jews to his factory from Plaszow.”

Here is the true story of what actually happened:

After Germany conquered Poland in 1939,  Oskar Schindler purchased a factory in the city of Krakow, where he employed Jews from the Krakow ghetto.  When the Krakow ghetto was closed, all the Jews were sent to the nearby Plaszow labor camp which was just outside the city of Krakow.

Schindler got permission to turn his factory into a sub-camp of the Plaszow camp, so that he could continue to employ Jews, instead of Polish workers.

He built barracks at his factory for Jewish prisoners, who were then transferred from the Plaszow camp to his sub-camp. After the Plaszow labor camp became a concentration camp, Schindler’s  factory sub-camp was then put under the authority of the WVHA, the economic office of the Nazi concentration camp system.

Oskar Schindler was making a fortune during the occupation of Poland during World War II.  Schindler was hiring Jews in his factory and paying lower wages than what he would have had to pay Polish workers.

By 1944, the Nazis were only allowing munitions factories to become sub-camps in their concentration camp system. 

Schindler’s factory in Krakow had two parts; one part of his factory made enamel pots and pans for the German army, but he was also producing munitions for the German military.  The Nazis did not want to open a munitions factory that would be a sub-camp of Gross Rosen, so Schindler had to bribe them to allow him to open a munitions factory near his home town of Brünnlitz, in what is now the Czech Republic.

When the Plaszow camp was closed in 1944, all the men in the camp were sent to the Gross Rosen concentration camp, including the Jews on Schindler’s List.

All the women in the Plaszow camp had to go to Auschwitz temporarily until barracks could be built for them at Gross Rosen, which was a men’s camp.

After barracks, for both men and women, were built at Schindler’s new sub-camp, the Jews on his List were sent there, including his female workers, who were temporarily staying at Auschwitz.

In real life, Schindler sent his secretary to Auschwitz to make sure that his Jewish workers got on the right train, but he didn’t go himself.

What if Schindler had just closed his munitions factory in Krakow and not bribed the Nazis to allow him to move it to Brunnlitz?  What would have happened to the prisoners on his famous list?  Would they have been sent immediately to the gas chambers?  No.  The men would have been sent to the Gross Rosen concentration camp which did not have gas chambers.  The women and children would have been sent, temporarily, to Auschwitz which was only 37 miles from Krakow, but they would not necessarily have been gassed.  There were numerous survivors of Auschwitz, including old women and little children.

The food for the prisoners in Oskar Schindler’s sub-camp was provided by the Nazis, but Schindler spent his own money to buy extra food and medicine for them.  His workers had a better chance of survival than they would have had in any other camp, but even then, some of his workers died of disease.  The Plaszow prisoners, who did not get on Schindler’s List, were not condemned to “certain death.” 

This quote is from the news article about Leyson’s death:

When the Nazis ordered the remaining Jews of Krakow to be sent to Auschwitz., Schindler acted again paying huge bribes and using all of his influence to ensure as many as possible were relocated to outside [his] home town and thus away from the Final Solution.

Schindler also dramatically intervened when Leyson’s mother and sister were among 300 Schindler women accidentally re-routed to Auschwitz when they were meant to be led to safety.

They knew the gas chambers awaited them until they heard Schindler’s voice.

The information in the above quote is based on the story that is told in the movie Schindler’s List.  It is true that Schindler had to bribe the Nazis to allow him to set up a factory outside his home town in what is now the Czech Republic, but the reason that Schindler had to bribe the Nazis was not because the workers in his factory had been ordered to be sent to Auschwitz to be killed.  No, the prisoners in Schindler’s factory in Krakow had been scheduled to go to Gross Rosen, a concentration camp which did not have a gas chamber.  Schindler’s Jews had not been scheduled to be killed.

The female prisoners on Schindler’s List had to go to Auschwitz-Birkenau to wait until barracks at Schindler’s new factory could be built for them.  In the movie Schindler’s list, the women are shown in the shower room at Auschwitz and they are over-joyed to see water come out of the faucets, not gas.

January 6, 2013

People in 213 countries read my blog in 2012

Filed under: Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 7:52 am

WordPress has given me an annual report for 2012. My blog had 1,385,396 views in 2012, and 5,954 comments in 2012. Most of the readers of my blog were located in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, with Germany coming in fourth.  I wrote on several different subjects in 2012, but the most interest was in my blog posts about the Holocaust. This subject has world-wide interest, as indicated by the fact that people in 213 countries read my blog in 2012.

My most popular blog post, out of 849 posts that I have written since I started on February 5, 2010, is the one with the title Did Amon Goeth save more Jews than Oscar Schindler?.  WordPress made a suggestion that I should write more on this subject.

As a matter of fact, I have written more on the subject of Amon Goeth here and here.  Another blog post that has been read many times is the one with the title Inheritance,” a documentary about Monika Hertwig, the daughter of Amon Goeth which you can read here. My blog post about the documentary Inheritance is in the top five of my most read posts.

The subject of Amon Goeth has generated the most interest because every student in America has seen the movie Schindler’s List in the classroom. In the movie, Amon Goeth is demonized as the world’s most evil person, the monster who shot innocent Jewish prisoners from his balcony.  There are more people in the world, who believe this deception, than there are people who believe in God. There is nothing that can convince most people that this didn’t happen.  The belief in Amon Goeth as the devil is a basic tenet of the Holocaust religion.

September 30, 2012

Amon Goeth had two different maids named Helen and lived in three different houses at the Plaszow concentration camp

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 10:17 am

I have been blogging almost daily for two and a half years and have written around 800 blog posts.  The two subjects that have generated the most interest, among my readers, are Dr. Josef Mengele who selected prisoners for the gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and Amon Goeth, the Commandant of the Plazow concentration camp, who shot prisoners at random from the balcony of the house where he lived, according to the movie Schindler’s List, which is based on a NOVEL entitled Schindler’s Ark written by Thomas Keneally.

During his time as the Commandant at Plaszow, Goeth lived in THREE DIFFERENT HOUSES.  The RED House was the first house where Amon Goeth lived when he was the Commandant, and the WHITE HOUSE which is shown in a documentary entitled Inheritance, was the last house where he lived.

In his NOVEL, Thomas Keneally explained that Amon Goeth was not arrested for shooting prisoners at random from his balcony because Plaszow was a LABOR CAMP at that time. The Plaszow camp was not yet under the jurisdiction of the SS Economic Administrative Main Office, which controlled the concentration camps, but not the labor camps.  The Commandant of a concentration camp did not have the authority to shoot prisoners without permission from the SS Economic Administrative Main Office.  By the time that Goeth was living in the WHITE house, shown in the documentary, Plaszow was a concentration camp and he would have been arrested if he had shot prisoners from his balcony.

In real life, Amon Goeth had two maids, both named Helen, while he was the Commandant at Plaszow. In the movie Schindler’s List, the two maids are combined into one person named Helen.

The two maids, who worked in Goeth’s house at the same time, were named Helen Hirsch and Helen Sternlicht.  Helen Hirsch is now Helen Horowitz; she was one of the “Schindler Jews” who provided information to Keneally for his novel.  Helen Sternlicht is now Helen Jonas.  She is the Helen who is shown in the James Moll documentary Inheritance, as she confronts Monika Goeth in a very belligerent way, making poor Monika feel guilty about the alleged crimes of her father.

Helen Hirsch was a witness at the post-war trial of Amon Goeth in Poland. As far as I know, she was the only one of the two maids named Helen, who testified at the trial. Helen Hirsch testified under oath that Amon Goeth had shot prisoners from THE WINDOW of his RED HOUSE during the time that Plaszow was a LABOR CAMP.

The house shown in the documentary Inheritance is the THIRD house in which Goeth lived during the time that he was the Commandant of Plaszow CONCENTRATION CAMP.  This is NOT the house that was mentioned in the testimony of Helen Hirsch at the trial of Amon Geoth.

Third house where Amon Goeth lived is shown in the documentary Inheritance

In the photo above, notice that there is a balcony on the second floor, which would be called the first floor in European terms. On the ground floor, there is a wide door that opens in the middle, and two casement windows that open outward.  The tiled area outside the doors would be called a patio by most people, not a balcony.

The photo below shows Amon Goeth, holding a rifle, as he stands outside the house.  The doors and windows identify the house as the house shown in the documentary Inheritance.

Amon Goeth standing outside the house shown in the documentary

In the photo above, Amon Goeth is standing on the PATIO outside the WHITE house, not on the upstairs BALCONY.  Note the open door on the left side of the photo which identifies the location as the ground floor.

In the movie Schindler’s List, which was based on a NOVEL, Amon Goeth is shown on a BALCONY, as he shoots prisoners at random in the Plaszow camp. In the movie, the balcony overlooks the Plaszow camp; this scene in the movie is pure fiction. The WHITE house, where Goeth lived at that time, did not overlook the camp.

Scene from the movie Schindler’s List

The photo above is a still shot from the movie. It shows Amon Goeth shooting from a balcony which overlooks a quarry.  This scene is pure FICTION.

The photo below shows Ruth Irene Kalder, the mother of Monika Goeth, standing on the PATIO outside the WHITE house, where Goeth was photographed with a rifle in his hand.

Ruth Irene Kalder standing on the patio outside the house where she lived with Amon Goeth

Note the doors in the background, which clearly identify this as the patio where Amon Goeth was standing with a rifle.

These innocent photos, plus the trial testimony of Helen Hirsch, were twisted into a fictional scene, shown by Stephen Spielberg, in his movie Schindler’s List.

While the Plaszow camp was in operation, Amon Goeth was investigated by Dr. Konrad Morgen, a Nazi judge, and as a result, Goeth was arrested for stealing goods from the Plaszow camp.  He was not arrested for shooting prisoners from his balcony.

If Goeth had actually been shooting prisoners from the WHITE house where he was living at that time, he would have been executed by the Nazis. If he had shot even one prisoner from his balcony, Ruth Irene Kalder would have instantly left him; she was a former movie actress, who was said to have resembled Elizabeth Taylor.  Kalder had been working as a secretary to Oscar Schindler when Schindler introduced her to Goeth.  Schinlder, who was a good friend of Goeth, was arrested at the same time as Goeth, because Schindler had been storing the goods that Amon Goeth was stealing from the Plaszow camp.

In the fictional movie Schindler’s List, the investigation and arrest of Amon Goeth are not mentioned.  He just disappears from the movie and nothing more is said about him.

In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, the fictional story of Amon Goeth, shooting prisoners from his balcony, lives on. It is one of those “events that never happened, but are true,” as Elie Wiesel famously said.

The movie Schindler’s List should not be shown to school children because the movie is fictional.  I previous blogged about the fictional aspects of Schindler’s List here.

If any readers of my blog still believe that Amon Goeth shot prisoners at random from his balcony, I can’t help you. You have been so brain-washed that you are beyond help.

June 2, 2010

Did Amon Goeth save more Jews than Oskar Schindler?

Filed under: Holocaust, movies, World War II — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 9:57 am

Amon Goeth was the Commandant of the Plaszow concentration camp; he was shown in the movie Schindler’s List as an evil monster who heartlessly shot innocent Jews from the balcony of his home.  In the movie, Goeth also beat his maid and committed many other atrocities. So why would anyone think that Amon Goeth, the epitome of evil, saved Jews during the Holocaust?

Scene from the movie Schindler’s List

After World War II ended, Amon Goeth was put on trial in Poland, but he was not charged with shooting prisoners from his balcony, nor with beating his maid.  He was charged with “liquidating” the Krakow ghetto, the Tarnow ghetto and the labor camp at  Szebnie near Jaslo.  During these liquidations, prisoners who tried to escape were shot and Amon Goeth was responsible for their deaths, although he didn’t personally shoot anyone.

When the ghettos were liquidated, some of the Jews were sent to forced labor camps, such as the Plaszow camp that is shown in Schindler’s List, but others were sent to the death camps at Belzec or Auschwitz. Amon Goeth took bribes from some of the Jews in the ghettos and then sent them to a labor camp instead of sending them to a death camp.  Goeth was arrested by the Nazis themselves on September 13, 1944 and charged by SS judge Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen with taking bribes from the Jews in exchange for not sending them to a death camp.  The movie Schindler’s List did not mention Goeth’s arrest and his absence in the camp was never explained.

How many Jews did Amon Goeth save from certain death in the death camps?  No one knows, but he was amassing a fortune from the bribes that he took, and this attracted the attention of the SS Criminal Police; he was investigated for six months before he was finally arrested.

Amon Goeth at the Plaszow camp

Goeth’s first job, after he joined the Waffen-SS, had been to liquidate several ghettos in the Lublin area. In exchange for money or other valuables such as furs and furniture, Goeth had sent Jews to labor camps instead of sending them to the death camp at Belzec.  In the eyes of the Nazis, this was a crime because all possessions taken from the Jews belonged to the Third Reich, not to SS officers like Goeth.

According to Thomas Keneally’s novel, Schindler’s Ark, Amon Goeth was “selling a percentage of the prison rations on the open market in Cracow through an agent of his, a Jewish prisoner named Wilek Chilowicz, who had contacts with factory managements, merchants and even restaurants in Cracow.”   Thomas Keneally explained that Chilowicz was allegedly killed by Goeth because he was a potential witness to Goeth’s crime of stealing the prisoner’s food. (The movie Schindler’s List was based on the novel Schindler’s Ark.)

So Amon Goeth, whose name is synonymous with evil for a whole generation of Americans, was actually working with the Jews to become rich during World War II.  However, it is doubtful that Goeth was stealing food from the Plaszow camp when there was a jewelry factory there as well as a furniture factory and a custom tailor shop.  The Jews who made it onto Schindler’s List stole diamonds from the jewelry factory and used them to bribe Marcel Goldman, the Jew who made up Schindler’s List.

After Goeth was arrested by the Nazis on September 13, 1944, Oskar Schindler was arrested a few days later and interrogated by the SS as part of the Goeth investigation, according to David Crowe’s book entitled Oskar Schindler.

David Crowe wrote that Schindler

“did move a lot of the former Plaszow commandant’s war booty to Brünnlitz. Göth, who still seemed to consider Schindler his friend, visited Brünnlitz several times during the latter months of the war while on parole.”

Goeth had been kept in prison in Breslau until he was released on parole on October 22, 1944 because he was suffering from diabetes. He was recuperating in an SS sanitarium in Bad Tölz near Munich when he was arrested by General Patton’s troops in 1945. His mistress, Ruth Irene Kalder, was with him at Bad Tölz and their daughter, Monika, was born there in November 1945.

Mietek Pemper, a prisoner at Plaszow who worked as Goeth’s stenographer and was privy to secret SS documents, was the main witness against Amon Goeth when he was put on trial in Poland after the war. Pemper told author David Crowe that:

“the basis of Chilowicz’s wealth came from the goods that Göth had collected from Krakow’s Jews after the closing of the (Podgorze) ghetto. Though Göth was supposed to send these valuables to the Reichsbank, he told Chilowicz to keep most of it for his (Göth’s) own expenses. These goods became the basis of Göth’s black market empire at Plaszow. Chilowicz, who handled Göth’s black market deals, always managed to skim something off the top for himself.”

According to David Crowe’s book, Wilek Chilowicz was the head of the OD, the Jewish police at Plaszow. He wrote that “Göth sought permission to murder Chilowicz and several other prominent OD men in the camp on false charges.” In all the Nazi concentration camps, the staff had to get permission from headquarters in Oranienburg to punish a prisoner, but punishment did not include murder.

Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen was a Waffen-SS officer and attorney whom Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had put in charge of investigating murder, corruption and mistreatment of prisoners in all the Nazi concentration camps in 1943. Dr. Morgen’s first investigation had resulted in the arrest of Karl Otto Koch, the Commandant of Buchenwald, and his later execution by the Nazis. When Goeth realized that he was being investigated by Dr. Morgen, he sought permission from Wilhelm Koppe in the central office in Oranienburg to execute Wilek Chilowicz, who could have testified against him.

Wait a minute!  Amon Goeth, the man who shot prisoners at random from his balcony, “sought permission” to execute the Jew that he was working with to steal goods when the ghettos were liquidated?  That doesn’t make any sense at all.

According to David Crowe’s book, Goeth asked one of his SS officers, Josef Sowinski, to prepare a detailed, false report about a potential camp rebellion led by Chilowicz and other OD men. Based on this report, Koppe sent a secret letter to Goeth giving him the authority to carry out the execution of Chilowicz and several other OD men. The execution took place on August 13, 1944; Goeth was arrested exactly a month later and charged by Dr. Morgen with corruption and brutality, including the murder of Wilek Chilowicz and several others. The office in Oranienburg did not have the authority to give an execution order; an execution could only be authorized by the Gestapo in Berlin.

Oskar Schindler had a lot in common with Amon Goeth, including the fact that both were Catholic and both were arrested by the Nazis for engaging in black market activities. Both were out to get rich from the war-time economy in Poland. Both were born in the same year, 1908; both were hard drinkers and both had a “massive physique.” Goeth was Austrian, as were his fellow Nazi criminals Adolph Eichmann, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, and Adolph Hitler. Schindler was an ethnic German living in what is now the state of Moravia in the Czech Republic.

Amon Goeth  after he was arrested

After World War II ended, the American military turned Amon Goeth over to the Polish government for prosecution as a war criminal. He was brought before the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland in Krakow. His trial took place between August 27, 1946 and September 5, 1946. Goeth was charged with being a member of the Nazi party and a member of the Waffen-SS, Hitler’s elite army, both of which had been designated as criminal organizations by the Allies after the war. His crime was that he had taken part in the activities of these two criminal organizations.

Goeth was also charged with the following crime:

(5) Simultaneously with the activities described under (1) to (4) the accused deprived the inmates of valuables, gold and money deposited by them, and appropriated those things. He also stole clothing, furniture and other movable property belonging to displaced or interned people, and sent them to Germany. The value of stolen goods and in particular of valuables reached many million zlotys at the rate of exchange in force at the time.

The last charge against Goeth, as stated above, was the crime for which he had been arrested on September 13, 1944, after an investigation by Waffen-SS officer Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen.

So how did Goeth manage to “deprive the inmates of valuables, gold and money” in connection with the liquidation of the ghettos, as stated in the charges against him by the Polish government?  This is probably a reference to the bribes that Amon Goeth took to save some of the Jews from being sent to the death camps when the ghettos were liquidated.

Oskar Schinlder saved 1,200 Jews by putting them on a List of prisoners to be taken to his factory in what is now the Czech Republic.  Amon Goeth was in charge of liquidating at least 6 ghettos.  If he saved as many as 200 Jews from being sent to Belzec or Auschwitz from each of these ghettos, then his total of saved Jews would be comparable to the number on Schindler’s List.

Maybe Steven Spielberg should make a sequel in which he would show Amon Goeth taking bribes and sending Jews to labor camps instead of sending them to certain death.  It could be entitled “Goeth’s List” as a reference to the list of Jews from whom Goeth accepted bribes to save their lives.

May 27, 2010

“Inheritance,” a documentary about Monika Hertwig, the daughter of Amon Goeth

Filed under: Holocaust, movies — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 3:36 pm

Still photo of Monika Hertwig from the film Inheritance

Monika Hertwig, the daughter of Amon Goeth, is the subject of the 2008 PBS documentary film entitled Inheritance.  James Moll, the film maker, deliberately used bad lighting to make Monika look like a scary monster when she is actually a beautiful woman, just like her mother Ruth Irene Kalder, a movie actress who was the mistress of Amon Goeth while he was the Commandant of Plaszow, the camp that is shown in the movie Schindler’s List.

Still shot from Inheritance shows the balcony where Amon Goeth allegedly shot prisoners in the Plaszow camp

The most famous scenes in the movie Schindler’s List show Commandant Amon Goeth shooting prisoners in the camp from the balcony of his villa. In the photo above, note the patio doors underneath the balcony. The photo below shows the real life Amon Goeth standing on the patio, not the balcony.

Amon Goeth shown on the patio of his house at the Plaszow camp

Pictures don’t lie.  The photo above shows Amon Goeth, caught red-handed, with a rifle in his hand, but he is not standing on a balcony. Note the patio doors in the background.

Did the Commandant of Plaszow really shoot prisoners at random, from his balcony, just for the fun of it?  Not unless he had some special kind of rifle that could shoot bullets over a hill.

Ruth Irene Kalder, standing on the patio of the house where she lived with Amon Goeth

Monika’s mother was Ruth Irene Kalder who was Oskar Schindler’s secretary before she became the mistress of Amon Goeth; she was a former movie actress.

The front of Amon Goeth’s house at Plaszow, 1998

In the fall of 1998, I visited the site of the former Plaszow camp and my tour guide took me to see Amon Goeth’s house, which is shown in the photo above.  I asked the guide where the camp was located and she said, “You can’t see the camp from here because it is behind a hill.” The guide told me that the house next door, shown in the photo below, was actually used in the film “Schindler’s List” because it was nicer than Goeth’s real house.

House that was used as Goeth’s villa in movie Schindler’s List

The photo below is a still photo from the movie “Schindler’s List.” In the movie, the balcony of Goeth’s house is only a few yards from the camp. Visitors to Goeth’s villa today can see that the house was actually behind a hill and the camp was not visible from the balcony.

Still shot from “Schindler’s List” shows Amon Goeth shooting prisoners from his balcony

The quarry where “Schindler’s List” was filmed was not the actual location of the camp

In the film Schindler’s List, which is a fictional story based on a novel entitled Schindler’s Ark, the villa where Amon Goeth lived is shown being right next to the Plaszow camp when it was actually far away from the camp. The camp was located in a quarry, but not the quarry where Steven Spielberg filmed the movie.

Thomas Keneally, the author of the book Schindler’s Ark, explained in his novel that Amon Goeth was not arrested for shooting prisoners from his balcony because Plaszow was a labor camp at that time and it was not yet under the jurisdiction of the SS Economic Administrative Main Office in Oranienburg, which controlled the concentration camps.  A Commandant of a concentration camp was not allowed to shoot prisoners without permission from the Oranienburg office.

Tourists are told that Amon Goeth shot prisoners from the balcony of this house

The house shown in the photo above was the last of three houses where Amon Goeth lived at the Plaszow camp. He did not live in this house when, according to the novel Schindler’s Ark, he shot prisoners from the balcony.

Of course, this is not mentioned in the documentary entitled Inheritance.

In the documentary Inheritance, Monika is shown at the site of the Plaszow camp as she meets Helen Jonas, who was one of the two women prisoners who worked for Amon Goeth in his home.

Helen Jonas on the left talks with Monika Goeth at the former Plaszow camp

Commandant Amon Goeth had two Jewish housemaids who lived in the basement of his villa: Helen Hirsch and Helen Sternlicht. Helen Hirsch is now Helen Horowitz and Helen Sternlicht, who is shown in the photo above, is now Helen Jonas, formerly Helen Rosenzweig. According to a book, entitled Oscar Schinlder, written by David Crowe, Goeth differentiated between the two Helens by calling Helen Hirsch by the nickname Lena and renaming Helen Sternlicht with the name Susanna. In the movie, the two Helens are a composite of the two real life Helens, although both Helens appear together briefly in one scene.

Helen Hirsch moved to Israel after World War II ended, and became part of the close-knit circle of the “Schindler Jews” in Israel who provided the information that became the basis for Thomas Keneally’s novel Schindler’s Ark and Steven Spielberg’s movie Schindler’s List.

According to author David Crowe, Helen Hirsch was the older of the two Jewish maids who worked for Goeth. She had originally worked in the camp’s Jewish kitchen and was chosen by her superior, Leon Myer, to work for Goeth. Myer took several weeks to acquaint her with the commandant’s personal likes and dislikes. Initially, Helen lived in a special barracks for Jewish workers, but eventually moved into the maid’s quarters in the cold, damp cellar of Goeth’s villa. Living with Goeth, she said after the war, “was almost like living under the gallows twenty-four hours a day.”

David Crowe wrote that Helen Hirsch Horowitz told Martin Gosch and Howard Koch in 1964 that “insofar as she was concerned, he (Goeth) had made some attempts physically and sexually upon her.” Gosch and Koch decided not to put this in the film script because “she might be accused even today of having acceded to his physical demands in order to preserve her life, and this does not happen to be true.”

The story that is told in the movie about how Amon Goeth chose his housemaid is actually closer to the story of how Helen Sternlicht Jonas was selected by Goeth.

According to David Crowe’s book, the true story is as follows:

When the Germans began the construction of Plaszow in late 1942, Helen Sternlicht’s mother, Lola, and one of her older sisters, Sydel (Sydonia), were sent there to work. As the Krakow ghetto was being liquidated, Helen Sternlicht decided to try to sneak into Plaszow because she did not have the blue Kennkarte which was necessary for identification. Helen had already learned about the death trains to Belzec and was desperate to join her sister and mother at Plaszow. She hid in a milk wagon going to Plaszow but was discovered by the driver just before he arrived at the camp. She managed to escape his grasp and made it into the camp, where she was given a job cleaning barracks. One day while she was cleaning windows, Amon Goeth walked in and said, “I want this girl in my house. If she is smart enough to clean windows in the sunshine, I want her.”

Of course, the documentary does not tell you that Helen Sternlicht Jonas actually sneaked into the Plaszow camp.

When Plaszow was being closed in the fall of 1944, Oskar Schindler requested that Helen Sternlicht and her sister, Anna, be put on the female “Schindler’s List.”

In his book Oskar Schindler, David Crowe wrote that Helen Sternlicht Jonas never mentioned sexual advances toward her from Goeth. The sex scenes in the movie Schindler’s List involved Helen Hirsch.

The following quote is from the book Oskar Schindler, by David Crowe:

Mietek Pemper told me that Goeth, who had liver and kidney problems, was not attracted to women. In fact, he found the idea that Goeth was somehow sexually attracted to Helen Hirsch Horowitz pure “baloney.” She was not, he added, “Miss Krakow or Miss Poland.” Helen Rosenzweig added that Goeth was also a diabetic who drank heavily. He believed firmly in Nazi racial laws and would not have had relations with a Jew. This does not contradict Helen Hirsch’s claim that Goeth tried to sexually abuse her when he was drunk. However, the idea, as depicted in Steven Spielberg’s film, that Goeth was somehow infatuated with Helen Hirsch and even toyed with the idea of kissing her is totally fictitious.

In February 2009, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum did a series of interviews with Holocaust survivors called Voices on Antisemitism. As part of this project, Helen Sternlicht Jonas was interviewed by Aleisa Fishman.

The following quote is the words of Helen Sternlicht Jonas in her interview with Aleisa Fishman:

When I arrived in Camp Plaszow, I was assigned to clean barracks. At the third day, a tall SS walked in the room, and he was Amon Goeth. At the time, I didn’t know who he was. But he looked around and he said to the woman that was in charge of us to send me to his house. And I really didn’t know what a brutal man he is, but he was a madman. He was a madman. He always, from the balcony he watched the camp, and he’s standing with the little machine gun through the window. He said, “You see those dumb heads? They’re standing, doing nothing.” He says, “I’m going to shoot.” And you could hear shooting like hell. And I could hear him whistling a happy tune, like he did so well. And this face with such satisfaction! I can’t forget that. The dreams after so many years he’s chasing me, I’m hiding. Because I lived in constant fear, constant fear, just looking at him. He was barbaric.

So there you have it — actual eye-witness testimony that Amon Goeth shot prisoners, who were behind a hill, from a house in which he didn’t live at that time.

Amon Goeth’s mug shot taken after he was arrested, August 29, 1945

In 1943, SS Judge Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen of the Haupt Amt Gericht (SS-HAG) was given an assignment to investigate and prosecute corruption and unauthorized murder at the Buchenwald concentration camp. His next assignment was to investigate the Plaszow camp. As a result of his investigation, which involved interviewing the prisoners, Amon Goeth was arrested by the Central Office of the SS Judiciary and imprisoned. Goeth was charged with stealing from the warehouses and factories at Plaszow, but not with shooting prisoners from the balcony of his home. There is no evidence whatsoever that Amon Goeth shot prisoners from his balcony, which was not even possible in real life.

After World War II ended, the American military turned Amon Goeth over to the Polish government for prosecution as a war criminal. He was brought before the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland in Krakow. His trial took place between August 27, 1946 and September 5, 1946.

Goeth was charged with being a member of the Nazi party and a member of the Waffen-SS, Hitler’s elite army, both of which had been designated as criminal organizations by the Allies after the war. His crime was that he had taken part in the activities of these two criminal organizations. The crime of being a Nazi applied only to Nazi officials, and Goeth had never held a job as a Nazi official. In fact, at the time of Goeth’s conviction by the Polish court, the judgment against the SS and the Nazi party as criminal organizations had not yet been made by the Nuremberg IMT.

At Goeth’s trial, the Nazi party was characterized as “an organization which, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, through aggressive wars, violence and other crimes, aimed at world domination and establishment of the National-Socialist regime.” Amon Goeth was accused of personally issuing orders to deprive people of freedom, to ill-treat and exterminate individuals and whole groups of people. His crimes, including the newly created crime of genocide, came under a new law of the Allies, called Crimes against Humanity.

The charges against Amon Goeth were as follows:

(1) The accused as commandant of the forced labour camp at Plaszow (Cracow) from 11th February, 1943, till 13th September, 1944, caused the death of about 8,000 inmates by ordering a large number of them to be exterminated.

(2) As a SS-Sturmführer the accused carried out on behalf of SS-Sturmbannführer Willi Haase the final closing down of the Cracow ghetto. This liquidation action which began on 13th March, 1943, deprived of freedom about 10,000 people who had been interned in the camp of Plaszow, and caused the death of about 2,000.

(3) As a SS-Hauptsturmführer the accused carried out on 3rd September, 1943, the closing down of the Tarnow ghetto. As a result of this action an unknown number of people perished, having been killed on the spot in Tarnow; others died through asphyxiation during transport by rail or were exterminated in other camps, in particular at Auschwitz.

(4) Between September, 1943, and 3rd February, 1944, the accused closed down the forced labour camp at Szebnie near Jaslo by ordering the inmates to be murdered on the spot or deported to other camps, thus causing the death of several thousand persons.

(5) Simultaneously with the activities described under (1) to (4) the accused deprived the inmates of valuables, gold and money deposited by them, and appropriated those things. He also stole clothing, furniture and other movable property belonging to displaced or interned people, and sent them to Germany. The value of stolen goods and in particular of valuables reached many million zlotys at the rate of exchange in force at the time.

The last charge, as stated in number (5) above, was the crime for which he had been arrested by the Gestapo on September 13, 1944, after an investigation by Waffen-SS officer Dr. Georg Konrad Morgen.  Note that he was not charged with shooting prisoners from his balcony.

At his trial, Goeth’s defense was that he was a Waffen-SS soldier who had to follow the orders of his superiors. He denied killing anyone except when ordered to carry out an execution.  He called Helen Hirsch as a defense witness on his behalf.

The photograph below shows Amon Goeth as he was escorted from the courtroom after being sentenced to death. At 6 foot 4 inches tall, Goeth towered over his Polish guards.

Amon Goeth leaves courthouse after being sentenced to death

Amon Goeth was found guilty on all counts. He was hanged in Krakow on September 13, 1946, exactly two years to the day that he left the Plaszow camp after being arrested. The scene of his hanging was filmed and the film clip is included in the documentary “Inheritance.” Goeth’s body was cremated and his ashes were thrown into the Weichsel river.

Holocaust denial is punishable by five years in prison in many European countries.   But what about Holocaust exaggeration?  For that, you get recognition, millions of dollars, and an Academy Award.

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