Scrapbookpages Blog

September 29, 2013

Granddaughter of Amon Goeth, the Schindler’s List balcony sniper, publishes her memoir

Nigerian-German author Jennifer Teege poses for a photo with her book "Amon, My grandfather would have shot me" about concentration camp commander Amon Goeth on September 26, 2013, Hamburg

Nigerian-German author Jennifer Teege poses for a photo with her book “Amon, My grandfather would have shot me” about concentration camp commander Amon Goeth on September 26, 2013

The photo above was copied from a news article which you can read in full here.

Another news article starts off with this quote:

A steel-eyed Nazi killer picks off Jewish prisoners with a rifle from a balcony in a concentration camp in 1944.

More than six decades later, a Nigerian-German woman who has studied in Israel thumbs through a book about the sniper and is shocked to learn the man is her own grandfather.

In a memoir published this month with the chilling title “Amon: My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me”, Jennifer Teege recounts her dark family secret and the extraordinary story of how her own life became enmeshed with one of history’s grimmest chapters.

Teege is the child of a Nigerian student and [Monika Goeth] the German daughter of Amon Goeth, the commandant of the Plaszow concentration camp outside Krakow in today’s Poland who featured in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Holocaust drama “Schindler’s List”.

Scene from the movie Shindler's List show Amon Goeth shooting prisoners from a balcony

Scene from Shindler’s List shows Amon Goeth shooting prisoners from a balcony

The photo above is a still shot from the movie Schindler’s List. It shows Amon Goeth shooting prisoners in a fictional scene from the movie. This fictional scene was concocted by Steven Spielberg after he saw a photo of Amon Goeth standing on the patio of his home which did NOT overlook the Plaszow camp.

Amon Goeth standing on the patio of his house, holding a rifle

Amon Goeth standing on the patio of his house, holding a rifle

When the granddaughter of Amon Goeth learned who her grandfather was, dollar signs must have flashed before her eyes.  This was her chance to gain fame and fortune.  She could write a memoir and make some money off the Holocaust Industry.  Is there any Nazi more famous than Amon Goeth, the commandant who shot prisoners from his balcony?

The movie Schindler’s List is based on a novel entitled Schindler’s Ark.  If the fictional book had not been made into a fictional movie by Steven Spielberg, the name Amon Goeth would be unknown today.  Amon Goeth was a minor criminal, whose crime was that he stole goods from the Plaszow camp. After the war, he was put on trial in a Polish court and convicted of being a member of the Nazi party and a member of the Waffen-SS, both crimes that were made up by the Allies.  He was also convicted of being responsible, under the “common plan” law made up by the Allies, for all the deaths that occurred at the Plaszow camp.  He was not charged with shooting prisoners from his balcony.

In 1943, SS Judge 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. He stayed at the Buchenwald camp for 8 months, investigating the Commandant, Karl Koch, before charging him with murder. Koch was executed for killing a couple of prisoners in the Buchenwald camp.

Dr. Morgen’s next assignment was to investigate the Plaszow camp. As a result of his investigation, which involved interviewing several of 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.  Oskar Schindler was also arrested, at the same time, for the crime of helping Goeth to store the stolen goods, but Schindler was released before being put on trial.  Goeth was not put on trial by the Germans because he was sick with diabetes; he was sent to a hospital instead.

Strangely, none of the Plaszow prisoners told Dr. Morgen about Amon Goeth shooting prisoners from his balcony.  It was Steven Spielberg who made up this crime when he saw a photo of Goeth standing on his patio.  In Spielberg’s defense, the photo did look like someone standing on a balcony, not a patio.

Amon Goeth standing on the patio of his home, near the Plaszow camp

Amon Goeth standing on the patio of his home, near the Plaszow camp; this photo inspired the balcony sniper story

Ruth Irene Kalder, the mother of Monkia Goeth, standing on the balcony of Amon Goeth's home

Ruth Irene Kalder, the mother of Monkia Goeth, standing on the patio of Amon Goeth’s home

The photo above shows that Jennifer Teege has some resemblance to her grandmother, Ruth Irene Kalder, who was the mistress of Amon Goeth.

Did Ruth Irene Kalder also shoot prisoners from the patio of Goeth’s home?  Not that I know of, but she might have set her dog on the prisoners, who were way off in a concentration camp, that was behind a hill, and not visible from Goeth’s home.

Ruth always spoke highly of Amon Goeth, but what did she know?  She only lived with the man.  While she was out walking her dog, Amon might have been out  on the patio, shooting prisoners with a special rifle that could shoot over a hill.

Memorial Stone at the site of the former Plaszow camp

Memorial Stone at the site of the former Plaszow camp

One of the news articles about Jennifer Teege shows the Memorial Stone at the Plaszow camp.  I took the photo of the Memorial Stone above, when I visited the site of the former camp in 1998.

My Polish tour guide translated the words inscribed on the stone, which were written in Polish. She told me that the words say something to the effect that we don’t know their names, so we call them by one name: Jews. We can’t describe how terrible and barbaric the Nazis were, so we call them by one name: Hitlerists.

There was one word that the guide didn’t know how to translate into English; it was the one word in the Polish language that I knew, the word pogrom. (Po-GROM means “like thunder.”  This word was used to describe the act of non-Jews chasing Jews out by the use of violence.)

My tour guide pointed out that the term Hitlerites or Hitlerists or Nazis should always be used when referring to the enemy in World War II, rather than Germans. There were many countries that supported or collaborated with the Nazis, and many soldiers from Allied or neutral countries that fought in the Waffen-SS, the volunteer army of Nazi Germany. The photograph above shows the front of the memorial stone with the inscription in Polish, which uses the name Hitlerists for the perpetrators.