An opportunistic businessman, he was one of many who sought to profit fromthe German invasion of Poland in 1939. Schindler gained ownership of afactory in Krakow from its Jewish owner.While witnessing a 1942 raid on the Krakow Ghetto, where soldiers were usedto round up the inhabitants for shipment to the concentration camp atPlaszow, Schindler was appalled by the murder of many of the Jews who hadbeen working for him.By the end of the war, Schindler had spent his entire fortune on bribes andblack-market purchases of supplies for his workers. Virtually destitute, hemoved briefly to Regensburg, Germany and, later, Munich, but did not prosperin postwar Germany.In fact, he was reduced to receiving assistance from Jewish organizations.Eventually, Schindler emigrated to Argentina in 1948, where he went bankrupt.Returning to Germany in 1958, he had a series of unsuccessful businessventures. Schindler settled down in a little apartment in Frankfurt, WestGermany and tried again – with help from a Jewish organization – to establisha cement factory. This, too, went bankrupt in 1961.His business partner cancelled their partnership, saying, "...now it is clear thatyou are a friend of Jews and I will not work together with you anymore."
Schindler’s factory in his hometown of Brinnlitz, now in the Czech Republic. 1200 Jews wereliberated from this factory on the 10th of May 1945.
Amon GoethBorn in Vienna Amon Goeth joined a Nazi youth group at seventeen, moved to a nationalist paramilitary groupat nineteen, and, in 1930, when he was twenty-two, joined the then outlawed Austrian Nazi Party.His posting as commandant at Plaszow was his career zenith. The conditions of life at Plaszow were madedreadful by Amon Goeth. A prisoner in Plaszow was lucky if he survived more than four weeks. Collectivepunishment became frequent, torture and death were daily events. Groups passing one another on differentwork shifts reported the daily number killed.
At Plaszow Amon Goeth passed hismornings by using his high-powered,scoped rifle to shoot at children playing inthe camp. Rena Finder, one of SchindlersJews then 14 years old, laterremembered Goeth as " .... the mostvicious and sadistic man ...". AnotherSchindler-Jew, Poldek Pfefferberg,recalled Goeth this way: "When you sawGoeth, you saw death."
At the trial at the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland, Kracow, 27th - 31st August and 2nd - 5th September, 1946, Goeth was found guilty and convicted of the murders of tens of thousands of people. (1) Amon Goeth as commandant of the forced labor camp at Plaszow (Cracow) from 11th February, 1943, till 13th September, 1944, caused the death of about 8,000 inmates by ordering a large number of them to be exterminated. (2) As a SS-Sturmführer Amon Goeth carried out the final closing down of the Cracow ghetto. This liquidation action which began on 13th March, 1943, deprived of freedom about 10,000 people who had been interned in the camp of Plaszow, and caused the death of about 2,000. Amon Goeth was hanged for his crimes on September 13, 1946, not far from his camp.Goeth leaves the courthouse after being sentenced todeath.
Mother with their children step carefully out of the freight wagons that brought them toOswiecim, Poland. They were tired after several days journey. They had no idea that they werebrought to the Auschwitz Death Camp.
An undated file picture of the womens barrack in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
Women fit for work after the delousing process. The disinfection of those not selected for thegas chambers, and the shaving of their heads, was all part of the "registration" process at thecamp. After they finished, they were given the prison uniforms seen in the picture.
Nazi criminals Irma Grese and Josef Kramer in the custody of the British at the end of World War II.Survivors provided detailed testimony of murders, tortures, and other cruelties, especially towardswomen, in which Grese engaged during her years at Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. They testified toacts of sadism, beatings and arbitrary shootings of prisoners, savaging of prisoners by her trained andallegedly half-starved dogs, and to her selecting prisoners for the gas chambers. After a fifty-threeday trial, Grese was sentenced to hang.
Birkenau, photographed from an upper window in the entrance "death gate" building, September 2005.http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/focus/maps/
Liberation of the Campshttp://www.ushmm.org/wlc/media_nm.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005131&MediaId=381
April 11, 1945 - North of Ohrdruf, near the town of Nordhausen, the American Division came upon 3,000 corpses andmore than seven hundred barely surviving inmates. Both living and dead lay in two double-decker barracks, piledthree to a bunk. The rooms reeked of death and excrement.Buchenwald barrack prisoners were reasonably healthy-looking and ready to assist in administering food. Little Campwas a nightmare with 1,000 to 1,200 prisoners in a space meant for 450. In Germany in Defeat, Percy Knauthdescribed Little Camps prisoners as, "emaciated beyond all imagination or description. Their legs and arms weresticks with huge bulging joints, and their loins were fouled by their own excrement. Their eyes were sunk so deepthat they looked blind. If they moved at all, it was with a crawling slowness that made them look like huge, lethargicspiders. Many just lay in their bunks as if dead." The smell of Little Camp, the smell emanating from discarded,decaying flesh, burning bodies, and an open concrete ditch that serviced as the latrine, was indescribable. Even afterliberation, twenty prisoners in each Little Camp block died a day. They were gnomes, sticklike figures with sunkeneyes who would hobble forward to cry and yell at the sight of their liberators.April 12, 1945 - Generals George Patton, Omar Bradley, and Dwight Eisenhower arrived in the camp at Ohrdruf. Theysaw more than 3,200 naked, emaciated bodies that had been flung into shallow graves. Eisenhower insisted onseeing the entire camp: a shed piled to the ceiling with bodies, various torture devices, and a butchers block used forsmashing gold fillings from the mouths of the dead. Patton vomited behind the barracks. Eisenhower felt that it wasnecessary for his troops to see for themselves, and the world to know about the conditions at Ohrdruf. The dayended with news that Roosevelt had died. Many American soldiers did not know what they were fighting for.Eisenhower realized that it was imperative for the soldiers to at least understand what they were fighting against. Hewanted the world to know of the conditions at the camps.His message to Washington read: "We are constantly finding German camps in which they have placed politicalprisoners where unspeakable conditions exist. From my own personal observation, I can state unequivocally that allwritten statements up to now do not paint the full horrors."