Amon GoethAmon Leopold Goeth (or Göth; 1908 - September 13, 1946), Hauptsturmführer of the SS, was the commandant of the Nazi concentration camp at Plaszow.
He became internationally known through his depiction by Ralph Fiennes in the movie Schindler's List, although this grim portrayal (where, for practicing shooting, he sniped Jews from the balcony of his house) showed only a subset of his crimes. He allegedly shot 500 Jews himself; Poldek Pfefferberg, one of the Schindler Jews, famously said, "When you saw Göth, you saw death."
During his time at Plaszow, he caused the death of about 8,000 inmates by ordering a large number of them to be exterminated. He carried out the "liquidation" of the Krakow ghetto, beginning on March 13, 1943, causing the death of another about 2,000 people. On September 3, 1943, he closed down the ghetto at Tarnow, where an unknown number of people were killed on the spot. Most of those who survived the executions were later killed in, or on the way to, the concentration camps they were transported to. Until February 3, 1944, he was responsible for shutting down the concentration camp at Szebnie (not depicted in the movie) by ordering the inmates to be murdered on the spot or deported to other camps, again causing the death of several thousand persons.
The exact nature of the relationship between Göth and Oskar Schindler is not known, but it is suggested (in the movie, too) that in order to save the lives of the Jews working for him (and keep his own profits), Oskar Schindler made friends with Göth. These Jews initially lived in a sub-camp in his factory. On September 4, 1944, with the Soviet army approaching Krakow, this sub-camp was closed by the Nazi authorities and the Jews were forced to move to the Plaszow camp. Schindler continuously bribed Göth with money and black-market goods. When Plaszow itself was shut down on October 15, 1944, Schindler thus managed to establish his famous list of Jews that were not murdered, but instead sent to a new kriegswichtige (war-essential) factory at Brunnlitz in Czechoslovakia.
Göth was later charged with theft of Jewish property (which, according to Nazi legislation, belonged to the Reich), and arrested in September 1944.
After the war, the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland at Krakow found Göth guilty of murdering tens of thousands of people. He was hanged on September 13, 1946, not far from the former site of the Plaszow camp, saluting the Führer in a final act of defiance.
In 2002, an interview book with his daughter, Monika Göth, was published in Germany under the name Ich muss doch meinen Vater lieben, oder? ("Must I love my father, or not?"), where, for the first time, she talked about her mother, who unconditionally glorified her father, the shock when she realized his role only after her mother gave an interview in the 1980s, before killing herself, and her attempts to live with this omnipresent daemon. (ISBN 3-8218-3914-7)