Goeth, the SS officer known from the epic Schindler's List as the
ruthless Commandant of the Plaszow labor camp. He
had experience at three death camps in eastern Poland - Belzec, Sobibor
and Treblinka - and made the final 'liquidation' of the Crakow ghetto.
A prisoner in
Plaszow was lucky if he survived more than four weeks. Collective
punishment became frequent, torture and death were daily events.
Goeth passed his mornings by using his high-powered, scoped rifle to shoot
at children playing in the camp. Rena Finder, one of the Schindler 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 Goeth 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."
Another survivor, Aaron Schwartz, later recalled the slaughter in Holocaust
Testimonies, edited by Joseph J. Preil, and he described the terrible
fate of a blond little girl:
I came to Plaszow the first day, they put me in a group where we were
digging a huge grave .. they brought in trucks, with children, from infant
to twelve years old. They were all killed .. when the children were
brought in, they were shot, right in that grave ..
One group was bringing, with a wheelbarrow, some chlorine powder and
putting on, because there was such a tremendous amount of bodies in those
little girl, a beautiful blond girl, sat down in the grave, dressed in an
Eskimo white fur coat, was all bloody, and asked for a little bit of water
.. this child swallowed so much blood, because it was shot in the neck.
And then it started to vomit so terribly. And then it lay down and it
says, "Mother, turn me around, turn me around." ..
This child did not know what happened to it. It was shot, it was half-dead
after it was shot. And this child sat down in the grave, among all the
corpses, and asked for water .. it was still alive. There was no mother,
just children brought from the Cracow ghetto.
So this little girl lay down, and asked to be turned around. What happened
to it? I do not know. It was probably covered alive, with chlorine .. I am
sure, because they did not give another shot to that girl .."
was hanged for his crimes on September 13, 1946, not far from his camp.