GÖTHS ARREST BY HIS OWN KIND
On 17 April 1944 the then Town Captain in Krakow, Josef Krämer, sent a letter of complaint to the Governor General Hans Frank regarding the tenure of the commander Göth. He accused him of violating the Policies and the "promotion with steps taken to improve the treatment of the Polish population", and noticed: Göth had arbitrarily acted and unconstitutionally seized the Easter Inventories [which belonged to the Reich, sic] and valuables of residents in the camp area, which Krämer saw undermining his efforts to improve relations with the Polish people: "It is quite a blow (Faustschlag) against our policy, to achieve the loyal cooperation of Poland by caring and fair treatment. All of our efforts, including the opening of the Polish People's Theatre have no success, if such Wild West methods are not suppressed. What this gentleman (dieser Herr) Göth has broken here in a few hours, we can not build up in months of painstakingly work again". SSPF Julian Scherner tried to cover for Göth and reported the seizure as goods from a bandit robbery (Bandenüberfall).
|"SS-Oberführer Julian Scherner"|
In August 1944, Himmler was given a letter from his school friend, Hans Stauber, Paymaster of the Army Management Location in Kracow, who wrote to his "Dear Heini" dutifully: "About the Plaszow camp, where all the Krakow hostages (Poles that had been taken prisoner after the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising in a street raid in Krakow) are housed, there is just nothing good (nichts Gutes) to say about it. For example that the detainees had to give up their cigarettes and were then divided among the guards, or that the prisoners are offered a loaf of bread for 600-1000 Zloty's for sale (supposedly to Jews housed in the vicinity !!), this throws a bad light over the supervision of the camp's control ". [Excerpt from the letter of the Top Paymaster Stauber to the Reichsführer SS, 16.8.1944, in: BArch Berlin, NS 19/2586, sic]
Since SS colonel Brandt, on Himmler's staff had received on the 6th of September 1944 a telex from HSSPF in Krakow, William Koppe, who briefed him about the court action proceedings against Göth because of insubordination. The telegram from Wilhelm Koppe HSSPF East, conveyed to Brandt as a response to the position in terms of Göth:
|"Koppe's Telegram to Brandt regarding Göths pending Judicial Enquiry"|
On 13 September 1944, Amon Göth was taken into custody and picked up from his villa by two Gestapo agents and taken away. Göth will never be returned to Plaszow . The arrest warrant for Göth has been served by the SS and Police Court VI in Krakow: The charges include suspected acquisition of personal property and money from Jewish prisoners with the aim of personal enrichment as well as the improper treatment of prisoners in the Plaszow concentration camp. In Vienna, Goeth will appear before the SS-investigator Dr. Konrad tomorrow". [Dr. jur. Rudolf Brandt was born on 2 Born June 1909 in Frankfurt / Oder, member of the NSDAP.
SS banner leader since 20 April 1944. Brandt was Himmler's personal adviser, Under-secretary and Chief of the Ministerial Office in the Reich Interior Ministry. He was brought on 9 December 1946 before a U.S. military court in Frankfurt / Main, and sentenced on 20 August 1947 to death and hanged June 1948 at Landsberg am Lech. Brandt was probably on 21 or 22 taken in May 1945 at Bremervörde, together with other SS men who were with Himmler on the flight to the south. sic]
At the end of January Amon Göth appears in Brünnlitz and put the prisoners in fear and terror. Schindler reassures them: "This is not the same Göth, he can do nothing more. He only comes here to pick up his things". Göth takes the opportunity to questions Mietek Pemper. He wants to know what the SS had asked him about. Pemper replied to him that he could not give him any information, but then told him that they had questioned him about 'this' and 'that'. Because The conversation did not take long, Göth sees Pemper only in autumn 1946 again in the dock in Krakow as a star witness against him. [Mr. Pemper died at age 91 on June 7th 2011 in Augsburg, Germany, where he lived. His death was announced by the Jewish Historical Society of Augsburg, where he had settled in 1958, becoming a German citizen and a management consultant. sic]
|SS-Standartenführer Rudolf Brandt prior to his Execution'|
Göth was charged for corruption, abuse of power and murder of prisoners. From Vienna Göth was transferred to Krakow, where Dr. Morgen was SS chief judge. Probably he was soon dismissed. Since 80,000 RM in cash were found in Amon Göth's possession, and that he claimed the money came from Oskar Schindler, an investigation was launched and OSKAR SCHINDLER was brought back handcuffed from Brünnlitz to Krakow in October 1944. Oskar was scared during the eight days he was in SS custody. He was no longer certain that his contacts could get him out of jail because the charge of corruption was so serious. He had been brought to Gestapo Headquarters instead of Montelupich prison (where he had been incarcerated earlier), which also frightened him because 'only the [word of a] top Nazi, Himmler, could save you'.
On the fourth day of his imprisonment, one of his friends, Hut, visited Oskar and told him that Plaszows new Kommandant , SS-Obersturmführer Arnold Büscher, refused to send the three hundred women initially selected to go to Brünnlitz via Auschwitz. According to Schindler, Büscher thought that Oskar was shipping these women to his new camp "for his own special reasons, and that he wasn't sufficiently anti-Jewish". Büscher wanted to take the Schindler women off the list and replace them with a different group of women. Oskar, who was becoming increasingly worried about the length of his detention, now had even more reason to try to find a way out of the Gestapo jail. And though Emilie Schindler does not mention this arrest, ( Schindlers third), in her memoirs, Itzak Stern said it was Emilie who got Oskar released after eight days "due to connections and a great bribe".
It was Baer, the Kommandant of Auschwitz, who finally agreed to release the 300 original Schindler women to Oskar in return for a payment of six RM ($2.40) a day for each women for the time they were in Auschwitz. Bear then pocketed this money.
Even though Schindler was treated well by the SS, he feared for his life. One of the Nazi Officers who entered his cell spit on him and called him "a Jew lover, King of the Jews". Later, after his release, Schindler met the SS Officer in public and got into a fight with him. Schindler knocked the SS-man unconscious.
Jewish prisoners who had been unloading railway wagons at Krakow hastily began hiding Göths personal stuff ("treasures") which could have led to additional investigations. Schindler maintained that he knew nothing of the embezzlement and that he had never at any stage bribed Göth.[winch was a lie, sic] However, he admitted that Göth received money from him, which were in the form of a loan (Darlehen) After 8 days of investigations, thanks to his friendly relations with Arms Inspector, Lieutenant General Maximilian, Schindler was set free, just in time to oversee in Plaszow the "loading" of the 300 Schindler women to his factory. The new Kommandant of the camp SS First Lieutenant Arnold Büscher,had sent them together with 1,700 other women first to Auschwitz without separating them as had been ordered. Göth was also interrogated by the Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police) for giving information to the engineer Grünberg about the liquidation of the Krakow Ghetto. Grünberg a German who was sympathetic to the Jews and closely associated with Stern, Pemper and Schindler. He passed the information on to Schindler, who in turn warned the ghetto leaders. Philip Grimm testified as a witness during preliminary hearings at Göths scheduled trial: "Some time after I had left Plaszow, I was interrogated in Oranienburg by the SS judge, Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Kauke about Göth, and I heard that he would stand trial before an SS and police court and that he was accused of indiscriminate killings of Jews in Plaszow". In January 1945, Göth was taken to the Stadelheim prison in Munich, to be put on trial there. This trial never took place.
One reason that Göth was never brought to justice by the SS was Himmler's decision in the spring 1944 to limit Dr. Morgen's investigation to the Koch case. Morgen, who had set up investigative commissions in most of the concentration camps, evidently pursued the case against Göth against Hiummler's wishes. The Morgen investigations had caused quite a stir in the SS, which oversaw the mass murder of millions of Jews and others during the war. Moreover, given the widespread corruption within some of the KZ-SS, an aggressive investigator such as Morgen could create all sorts of problems for any number of officers in the large network of camps. In the end, the SS dropped the charges against Göth, though there was enough evidence to convict him of various crimes. Unfortunately, politics and the end of the war kept Morgen from adding Amon Leopold Göth's name to the list of legal victories.
|Identification Amon Göths as Prisoner of War"|
Göth was released on 27 April 1945 from Munich-Stadelheim prison and transferred to the Flack and Replacement Regiment 3 in Munich-Freimann. From there, he was hospitalised due to poor health into a sanatorium in Bad Tölz. Already on May 5, 1945 American investigators had traced him in Bad Tölz and locked him up in the detention centre at Kornwestheim. On 8 February 1946 he was transferred to the camp for war criminals on the former grounds of the concentration camp at Dachau. After his identity as a former commander of the Plaszow concentration camp had been established, he was delivered on May 28 to the Polish Justices. On 27 August 1946 began the criminal process in Krakow before the Polish National Supreme Court.
|"Göth on the way from court to prison"|
|"Göth arrest photo"|
|Göth hears his Death Sentence.|
|Handwritten Appeal Göths for Mercy|
The Botched Hanging Execution of Amon Göth:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BLbqADnPVg
The hanging took place not far from the former site of the Płaszów camp. At his execution, Göth's hands were tied behind his back. The executioner two times miscalculated the length of rope necessary to hang Göth, and it was only on the third attempt that the execution was successful. [The claim is made that Göth defiantly performed the Hitler salute, as the eternal Nazi, this statement is incorrect, following is Spielbergs Hollywood version of the final act.:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XL2lJj8248&feature=related, sic]
Göth was married and divorced twice. His first marriage was to Olga Janauschek in January 1934. They were divorced in July 1936. His second marriage was to Anny Geiger in October 1938, which ended in 1944. Soon after his second marriage ended, Göth was engaged to Ruth Irene Kalder, (nicknamed "Majola" in the Płaszów camp during her stay in Göth's "Red Villa"), who had taken Göth's name shortly after his death. Through these relationships, Göth had two sons and two daughters. Göth's first child, a boy named Peter, died seven months after his birth from a diphtheria infection. Göth had two more children with Anny Geiger, a daughter named Ingeborg and a son named Werner. Göth's last child was a daughter named Monika (chosen mainly from Göth's childhood nickname, "Mony") whom he had by Ruth Irene Kalder. Monika was born on 23 October 1945.
After the replacement of Göth, SS-Captain Arnold Büscher became the new commander of Plaszow. The Security Protection responsibility of the camp fell to SS-Hauptsturmführer Kurt Schupke. Büscher was born on December 16, 1899 in Bad Oeynhausen, and since 1931 member of the SS. At the beginning of the war he performed duties only in concentration camps, serviced in them from Buchenwald to Sachsenhausen and Neuengamme. From April 1944 he was head of the camp's guards (Wachmannschaft) in Plaszow. Büscher was condemned to death for his actions in Plaszow on 23 January 1948. Kurt Schupke, was born on 15 May 1898 in Greitz, and did service in the camps of Sanok, Zaslaw, Rzeszow and from April 1944 to January 14, 1945 in Plaszow, then at Buchenwald. He was sentenced on 10 June 1948 in Krakow to death.
After the huge transports of male prisoners from the concentration camp at the beginning of August 1944 to KZ Mauthausem the number of inmates for the first time since early 1943 sank below the figure of 10.000. On 1 September 1944, a total registered prisoners was 4952, of these were 2843 men and 2109 women, a month later this figure fell to 4595, of these 272 men and 177 women were on the 23 September classified as "unable to work." It is most likely that they were Polish inmates who were sent as forced labourers into the Reich for other assignments.
On 6 September 1944 HSSPF Koppe cabled to Himmler that the camp "is already in the process of being dismantled," and "the problem should be resolved in the near future". In September and October 1944 less and less raw material was available for processing, so that many inmates had very little work or none at all. The metal workshop and Madritsch's company worked half shifts and in some Departments at reduced hours. The plant manager of the DAW Joseph Neuschel fought desperately against the deportation of his skilled workers from the camp.
As the front line approached forever nearer, machinery and raw materials were systematically shifted. Already in August and September 1944, the barracks were dismantled and sent in part by goods-trains to Bergen-Belsen and Neuengamme. With additional Transports of inmates, mainly in October 1944, the occupancy rate fell by January 14, to 625 prisoners. Of the remaining guards only 87 of them remained. In the meantime due to the clearance of the guard barracks, an emergency shelter was established for the remaining prisoners. Until then, the vehicles, construction machinery, and the so-called special assets, of confiscated books and scientific works, were packaged and loaded for shipment. Some of the remaining prisoners were still working for the Office Group "C" (Construction), the official Group (EIG-DAW), the chemists for the SS office, and for the defence contracting firm Korgeld & Rasner.
DESTRUCTION OF ALL TRACES
Probably in August / September 1944 they began with the exhumation of bodies from mass graves and the burning of all evidence in the Plaszow camp. This lasted about six weeks, with the fire burning from early morning. At night, the prisoners dug out the corpses and prepared them prior for cremation at the funeral pyre, by alternately placing a layer of wood and a layer of corpses. To prevent air attacks, the pyre burned only during the day. The exhumation were performed simultaneously in two places in the old cemetery and on the "Hujowa Gorka". Twenty to thirty prisoners were employed ten to twelve days in the "Burning Commando" or the "Excavation Commando", for a total of six weeks. After work vodka, sugar and JUS-soup (Jusowka) was provided for an in unimaginative abhorrent task . At that time, an unbearable stench hung over the camp. Seventeen loads of ashes left the camp. Taking the fact that many prisoners that took part in this operation and a relatively high number of witnesses reported the events after the war, one can safely assume that prisoners were not killed after finishing their assignments, as was the case with inmates attached to "Sonderkommando 1005" at some other camp locations.
EVACUATION OF THE CAMP
"On Sunday, 14 January 1945, the SS Obergruppenführer Koppe issued by 1200 hours to the commandant of KL Plaszow a direct order to report back by 1400 hours that all the prisoners, the entire force of 625 men and women will be ready by 1700 hours to march towards Auschwitz", thus reported the Camp Administration of Krakow in its report. The artillery fire was heard in the immediate vicinity of Krakow, and constantly Russian bombers flew over the city, the telephone connection was broken. The march lasted three days, almost without interruption. Some prisoners escaped, and although the SS had threatened to shoot for one escapee ten other prisoners, nothing happened. Protective Custody Camp Leader Kurt Schupke oversaw the death march, he behaved relatively decently. One truck drove with the prisoners loaded with documents and goods, but did not include any inmates. Two days after arriving at Auschwitz some prisoners had to walk to a the sub-camp at Gleiwitz, where they had to spend eight days and nights under the open sky. With that the camp was empty.
NUMBER OF VICTIMS
From the Chronicle of occupied Krakow and Tadeusz Wonsli figures indicate that a minimum of 1702 Polish resistance fighters were killed at Plaszow. With regular transports twice a week, this results in the course of the history means an average of eleven victims per transport. This does not seem too high, especially since we know that in the summer of 1944 almost daily shootings were organised. There are also 270 Jewish victims who were taken in the days and weeks after the Ghetto Closure thatwere taken from their hiding places and shot. The Gestapo killed at least 531 other Jews who had been detected outside the camps. Furthermore, in November 1943 about 200 selected Jews from the three Jewish labourwere shot within the camp ground. As can be backed and verified, the murder of at least 237 Jewish camp inmates. This results in almost 3,000 murdered in Plaszow, including 1700 non-Jewish Poles. Together with the approximately 2,000 bodies that were brought out of the evacuated Ghetto to Plaszow, this indicates that nearly 5,000 people were either buried or burned on the site. The majority of these deaths were not inmates, even if the shootings carried out on the camp grounds.
REVENGE OR OUTRIGHT MURDER-THE JEWISH BRIGADE
Jewish soldiers who served in the British Army hunted down and executed up to 1,500 high-ranking Nazis in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. The soldiers were members of the Jewish Brigade, part of the British Eighth Army, which fought with distinction in northern Italy in the latter stages of the war. As the conflict in Europe ended, the Jewish soldiers started their own mini-war. They formed "revenge squads", and with the help of their British Army credentials travelled around Germany and Austria searching for men responsible for the Holocaust. The brigade's officers and NCOs were British Jews - Edmund de Rothschild, scion of the banking dynasty, was a young captain - but the ranks were filled with Jewish volunteers from Palestine, and refugees who had fled Nazi-occupied Europe.
The hitherto untold details of the story have emerged in a new book, The Jewish Brigade: An Army with Two Masters, by author and historian Morris Beckman. He told the Independent on Sunday: "These were the first post-war executions of selected top Nazis. There were several dozen revenge squads operating; the highest estimate of executions was 1,500. The exact figure will never be known". Secret orders from Zionist leaders in Tel Aviv instructed members of the brigade to ensure that at least some of the senior members of the SS would be punished for their crimes against humanity.
|Jewish Brigade Group Emblem|
Those who volunteered for the killings had lost their families and communities in the Holocaust and were burning with hatred. "We were young Jewish soldiers," one recalled. "We knew that our people would never forgive us if we did not exploit the opportunity to kill Nazis". Initially, they used to shoot them in the head but later adopted the method of strangling with their own hands. The Avengers would not reveal anything to their targets before the execution – not who they were nor why they are killing them. They said the killing was like "a killing of an insect".
|Antwerpen, Belgium, The "Buchenwald Group" with Jewish Brigade soldiers, before moving to Eretz Israel, 1946".|
The most extremist group was the Nakam ("vengeance") Group. They numbered around 60 Jews who were former Partisans as well as other Jews who survived the Holocaust. The group arrived in Germany after the war in order to conduct more complicated and fatal vengeance operations. Their ultimate purpose was to execute an operation that would cause a broad international response that would be a warning to anyone who might consider trying to harm Jews again, as the Nazis had. Notables among the Hanakam group were Abba Kovner, Yitzhak Avidav, and Bezalel Michaeli. Through Chaim Weizmann later President of Israel according to Harmatz, Kovner obtained from Ephraim and Aharon Katzir a poison. He claimed it was to be used on 3000 loaves of bread for former SS guards, currently in American Prisoner of war camp in "Stalag XIII", but he was concealing their bigger plan of poisoning the water supplies of Munich, Berlin, Weimar, Nuremberg and Hamburg. The Nakam group intended to kill 6 million Germans – as many as the Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust. According to Harmatz, they would have taken care to except American residential areas from the area, so as to murder only Germans as far as possible. The Katzir brothers supplied Harmatz with the poison and the Haganah gave Kovner false documents of a supposedly Jewish Brigade soldier, and he boarded a ship in Port of Haifa. When the ship approached Toulon in France, the British discovered that Kovner's papers were forged. His accomplices managed to throw the poison overboard. Kovner was sent to an Egyptian jail. According to Joseph Harmatz, leader of Nakam after Kovner's arrest, they were betrayed. Although uncertain, he suspects the Zionists sabotaged out of fear that such a crime would diminish support for a Jewish state. As a result of the failure of the mass poisoning plan, it was decided to move to Plan B. Under the command of Kovner's deputy, Yitzhak Avidav, the Hanakam group poisoned hundreds of loaves of breads that were designated for the S.S. prisoners. On April 14th 1946, Nakam painted with diluted arsenic some 3,000 loaves of bread for the 12,000 German POWs from the Langwasser internment camp near Nuremberg (Stalag XIII). The camp was under US authority. 1900 German prisoners of war were poisoned in the US camp, and all got "seriously ill". The Associated Press:
Did it work? Just check the New York Times for April 20th 1946, where on page six you will find an Associated Press report that begins as follows: "Nineteen hundred German prisoners of war were poisoned by arsenic in their bread early this week in a United States camp and all are 'seriously ill', United States headquarters announced tonight". How many of those SS men actually died following the poisoning at Stalag 13 has never been verified, but some put the figure at several hundred, others at a thousand. According to Harmatz (Nakam leader), 300 to 400 Germans died. He said this "was nothing compared with what we really wanted to do".
The public prosecutor's office within the higher regional court at Nuremberg stopped the preliminary investigation of attempted murder in May 2000 against two Nakam activists, who professed to have involvement in the incident. The public prosecutor's office cited statute of limitations laws (In German: "Verjährung) "due to unusual circumstances" as reasoning for the suspension of the investigation.
The 'Nakam' Group British-born soldiers did not take part in the revenge killings, but provided practical support, such as forged papers. Londoner Mark Hyatt, who was an NCO in the Jewish Brigade, told the author that he provided the hit squads with "logistical support". He said: "We did what had to be done and there was no compunction about it."
He had transferred from the ranks of Eighth Army, with which he had fought in north Africa. He summed up the Jewish Brigade as a "very unorthodox outfit".
As well as the execution of the suspected SS and Gestapo war criminals, the brigade assisted tens of thousands of concentration camp survivors to reach Palestine, despite the fact that the British government was implacably opposed to Jewish immigration at the time and that the country was the subject of a naval blockade. The brigade also gave the Palestine-bound refugees military training and stole, from the British Army stores, thousands of weapons to help arm the Haganah, the embryonic Israeli army. While the Foreign Office, under the arch anti-Zionist Ernest Bevin, was hostile to the Jewish Brigade and wanted it to be stopped, the British military command refused to act and turned a blind eye to the brigade's clandestine activities. "The commanders of the Eighth Army knew what was going on but they were sympathetic, [as] they had fought alongside the brigade," said Mr Beckman. Ken Sanitt, an artillery sergeant who had transferred into the Jewish Brigade after four years of fighting in north Africa, Mesopotamia and at Monte Cassino, said: "The British and the Indian soldiers I had been fighting with were elite troops, but they were war-weary, while the Jewish Brigade were spoiling for action. Their fighting spirit was fantastic."
Indeed, the brigade became the template for the Israeli army and 35 former members of the Brigade later became Israeli generals.
In 1964, a 7-metr4 High 'Memorial o the Victims of Fascism in Krakow' (Polish: Pomnik Ofiar Faszymu w Krakowie) designed by Witold Ceckiewicz was unveiled. It is dedicated in general to the victims of Fascism. Few traces of the former camp remain. In 2003, memorial plaques were affixed to the former camp entrance, presenting information about the history of the camp. Next to it are two further memorial plagues. In 2000, one of them was dedicated to the Hungarian Jewish women who were deported from Plaszow to Auschwitz and murdered there. Another plague, one which honoured all of the victims of Plaszow, was donated by the Jewish community of Krakow. On one of the execution sites, Hujowa Gorka, there is a cross with barbed wire on it. The history of the camp is also dealt with in the permanent exhibition on the history of Krakow during World War II at the "Schindler Factory" museum (Polish: Fabryka Schindlera). The museum was opened in 2008 in the former Administration building of Oskar schindler's enamelware factory. Prisoners from Plaszow worked here, and Schindler could save about 1200 of them from being transported to death camps.
"Plaszow" the German text is published in the series of books "Der Ort
des Terrors" by Wolfang Benz and Barbara Distel, published by C. H.
BECK, volume 8, which was written by Angelina Awtuszewska-Ettrich which
I translated into English.
Aleksander Biberstein, Zagla zydow w Krakowie, Die Vernichtung der Juden in Krakau, Krakow 2002.
Halina Nelken, Freheit will ich noch erleben. Krakauer Tagebuch, Gerlingen 1996
Angelina Oster, Im Schatten von Auschwitz. Das KZ Krakau-Plaszow, Geschichte und Erinnerung, in: Dachaauer Hefte 19 (2003)
David M. Crowe, Oskar Schindler, The untold account of his life, wartime activities and the true story behind the list
Mietek Pemper, Der rettende Weg. Schindlers Liste, die wahre Geschichte, Hamburg 2005
172 references to Witness Statements and Court Documents