During the Holocaust, monsters in the skin of men reigned terror on entire populations of people. Of these monsters, few are as notorious as Amon Goeth. The overall terror that he inflicted during WWII was captured perfectly in the film Schindler's List, in which Ralph Fiennes portrayed the murderous Nazi.
Goeth was a captain in the German army and was assigned a post as commandant of the Plaszow Concentration Camp in Poland. On March 13, 1943, the Krakow ghetto was closed, killing 2,000 people in the process. The survivors were sent to Goeth's concentration camp, where he ruled with pure terror. On a daily basis, Goeth murdered and tortured prisoners. He is thought to have killed over 500 Jews personally, and in many instances sat outside his home with a rifle and used the Jews below for target practice. He sent thousands of prisoners to death in mass murders.
Later in 1943, Goeth was in charge of shutting down the Tarnow ghetto. During this 'liquidation', an estimated 10,000 people were killed with the few survivors being sent to concentration camps. In February of 1944 he was also in charge of closing down the Szebnie concentration camp. To go about this, Goeth simply ordered the murders of the majority of the prisoners on the spot. Those who survived were sent to other camps. During this closing of the camp, thousands more prisoners were killed.
Goeth was actually arrested by the Gestapo for stealing Jewish property, which according to Nazi law was property of the state. Before the court martial and trial were completed, WWII had progressed to the point that there was little time to deal with prisoners of his nature. SS doctors eventually determined that Goeth was mentally ill, and as a result he was confined to a mental institution. He was arrested by the US military in 1945, still an inmate of the mental institution.
Goeth's trial was swift and he was quickly found guilty of the murders of tens of thousands. He was executed near the site of the Plaszow camp where he had inflicted so much suffering, and during the execution the executioner 'botched' the job twice by using the wrong length of rope. Finally, he was executed and the story of Goeth came to an end. He was 37 years old at the time of his death, but there is no question that the terrible memories of what he did will live in infamy.
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