Gershon Willinger’s story

I came across Gershon Willinger’s name on the Joods Monument website. It is his 80 birthday today, When I saw his name and his birthday, I also saw that the date and the place of his death were not known. I figured this was going to be an awful tragic and depressing story.

I decided just to a bit of research, but with the thought I wasn’t gong to do a piece about him. I reckoned it was going to break my heart, and I just wasn’t able for that today. However, although his story his sad in many ways, there was another story emerging too, the story of Gershon. The reason why the place and date of death were unknown is because he is still alive.

This is his story in his words.

“My name is Gershon Israel Willinger. Born Gert Israel Willinger, Israel was given by the Nazi regime who was in Holland at the time so that became automatically my middle name or somebody’s last name, but it was my middle name, which is still carried today. I was born in September, 1942 in Amsterdam Holland, where I grew up.

So I I’m the man of many names, Gert Israel. I was born until the age of 18 I was called Fritz. My last name was called Klufter because this was the name of my foster parents/ adoptive parents a year before I left. I didn’t want to be adopted, but it got me quicker out of Holland as well, because I got a Dutch passport. Born Gert Israel Willinger became Klufter. And then, then I had my bar mitzvah Gert Gershon, Gershon is a stranger in foreign lands, he was also the son of Moses. So very apt names for me. I still was called Fritz and the day on my 18th birthday, when I left Holland, I became Gershon.

I grew up in Holland and I left Holland at 18 to immigrate to Israel. I went to the kibbutz. Then I went into the army in 1961. I served two and a half years as a paratrooper in the Israeli defense forces.

Uh, then I studied social work. I became a social worker working with only youth juvenile delinquents and street corner groups. I was in the reserve for about 10 years, uh, fought during the war of attrition in 69, 70 at the Suez canal. I was with the entering to Jerusalem in 1967. I was not in the 73 war because I was studying for a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree in the United States, uh, with my family. I came back during the 1973 Yom Kippur war, but, the trouble was that I couldn’t find my regiment. So I came with my whole family in the middle of my studies. We had to blackout our apartment, stayed for a number of weeks. And then when I couldn’t find them and things were, things were chaos. I stepped back on the plane and continued my education for the year in the United States with a wife and two small children in tow. And, um, we left Israel in 1984, uh, simply because of economic reasons for social workers is very hard also to not rely on family, but on yourself.

We have been here since in Canada, which is a, quite a good country since December of 1977 and have lived here since raised our children here, our three children who are now 50, 48 and 45 and, seven lovely grandchildren between the ages of 17 and 11. I speak for the Holocaust Center of Toronto and for the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

I have a responsibility to my parents and I have responsibility to my children and, uh, the Holocaust, I have a responsibility and it is, and, um, it’s not all altruism. There’s also an element of self-therapy, which is very good as well. Um, I’m one of the youngest. So from that point of view, I had to research my life most of my life, where you come from, who are you? Because the lack of identity of who you are as a person and many children who were born in between 1935 and 1944, although there’s a vast difference because if you’re a child who grows up with a parent and a child who has got a history of family before the war, I’m still can relate to that. But then the other children who really after second world war, which they don’t realize like myself, and only some chaos, I suppose, in the background of your mind, but without any knowledge, you start starting after the war, which meant, uh, who are you? Where are you? Where are you going to be placed? What are you going to do? And what is your legacy, whether you, who were your parents and how did they die and what happened and then so on.

My father was a, in hospitality industry before the war. And he was Bad Wildungen and I felt first that he was born there, but he wasn’t born there. He worked there, he worked, it was a spa city with natural spas, with special water. He worked there in a Jewish hotel. He was a chef. He lived on the premises, it’s very picturesque between little hills. It’s like the gingerbread houses and beautiful, absolutely gorgeous. I’ve just, there’s nobody of us anymore in Holland, because we were born there. We my sister was there until 11 and left and I at 18, I left and my parents came from Germany. Both of them there. My mother came in 29. She came actually, she had relatives in Holland. I think that she went to my aunt, who I stayed within 29. And she stayed in Holland, but she never naturalized.

My father, I found out was married to a non-Jewish Jewish woman in 1935. He divorced in 35. There became a law also that Aryans were not allowed to be married to Jews that became a law. But I think the marriage couldn’t have been that great either, but they divorced. And a, he came to Holland in 1937, 37 or 38 married my mother 37 I think it was. But he, he still went back and forth to Bad Wildungen because there was a train from Amsterdam to there between 1935 and 1937. He traveled up and down and still stayed at, at the hotel and worked there. And finally, when people thought that he was spy and I found it in the archives, because why do you go back and forth to Holland, the Nazi regime was already there? He stayed away and stayed in Holland, also not naturalized. So they got together, got married and then had my sister in May, 1940.

Now what possessed a couple, unless they had didn’t have birth control to want another child in 1942. So they had me, you know, they must’ve thought that children could stay with parents or whatever happened. When they saw that things were bad, they allowed me at a very early age to be taken by the underground who knew about this baby. And my sister was already shoved underground somewhere else. And I came to this family, the righteous among the nations. The stories that my mother, my birth mother, Edith came to where I stayed and worked as a short-term as a maid at the farm across the brook so that she could have contact, not with me, but find out about me. But she went back to Amsterdam and they went for one day to Westerbork the transit camp. And I think it was the 29th of June that they came to Westerbork and then they were sent straight through to Sobibor where in July and the data I have is the 2nd of July, they were together murdered upon arrival in Sobibor, in Poland.

I was eight years old when I came to permanent foster parents. So what I do know is the time of 1945, 1950, when you are in as many children, displaced children also today in all kinds of countries, uh, you were going from pillar to post. So institutions are fringes, foster homes and not knowing even if you’re a Jewish. So because the concept being Jewish sounds very abstract. When you’re a small child, you don’t realize that at all. So, consequently, I, I was very, very, uh, curious to find out who I really was. And so from an early age, my new foster parents, after those five years have a bookcase full of authentic photographs from the Nazi time, also that they obtained with the bodies in this concentration camps and how the Americans found the camps afterwards.

So I used to leaf through them, and that is a psychologically, a very normal thing because the child looks for his parent. And so things that, the image of the parent. So, so that interests start already at that age. And, um, of course you have a disassociation with people because you have moved around so much. So I, um, very quickly wanting to develop in the beginning of superficial sense of belong to the foster parents that you live with in order to belong and to be somewhere, however, it never succeeded that much. Like many other kids, um, who were privileged, uh, like I was privileged to psychiatric treatment and psychoanalysis after the war for about five years when I came to them from eight to 13, then again from 15 to 17.

So I didn’t know what parents really meant. So, um, they told me that I did have parents, which I didn’t bemoan my fate because it’s very, normally if you don’t even remember parents that you had them, and I remember very hard to call them mom and dad, because, uh, you know, you get there at eight years of age, a very difficult child with lots of problems. And, um, but with a hunger for reading. So to save me because I was read, like a fiend. So, um, and I could read, well, uh, like many other children, my friends also that I have, who are my age, little bit older, little bit younger who, uh, belong to my group. I don’t know if you’ve heard that group of, um, I belong to a group of 50 children who in 1944 were sent from Westerbork in Holland to Bergen Belsen. And we were there a couple of months and then from Bergen Belsen we were transported to Theresienstadt in Czech Republic. We were known as a Gruppe “unbekannte Kinder”, unknown children.

And what I tell usually schools is in order so that they can grasp especially grade seven and eights really like to talk to me because I ask them who tucks you in at night, who’s responsible for your food, who’s responsible for your clothing who’s responsible to take care of you and who loves you unconditionally, well it’s your parents. So now then put yourself in the picture of this and that happening.

I had their name, but never officially. My first name was also different because children went under, we had many names we had to deal with and cope with a lot of chaos and names. So my name was Fritz. Fritz was given to me by the people, the Schonewilles, who I lived with in Northern Holland, in the province called Trenta, who were righteous among the nations. And they took me in and they took care of me. But when my name was given away at the beginning of 1943, the very beginning of 1943, I was taken away by the Dutch police. Plenty many, many, many, many collaborators with the regime. The regime in Holland. Holland has got this wonderful connotation, wooden shoes, gabled rooftops, and it’s all very nice and pretty, but about 80% are either bad or are good people who did nothing. And about 15 to 20% put themselves out. And were treated abominably after the war, didn’t get any recognition, only years, years, and years later. So that those are the kind of people that I was placed with. I was taken away from them and they put themselves really in danger because my foster father went to jail. I was taken away by the Dutch place and placed in Westerbork the transit camp.

We knew it about each other. We never spoke about it. We were getting ready to go to Israel, we were Zionists and even not going to stay in Europe. And I stuck to that. I never went back. I never stayed in Europe. And I left Israel. I said, leave Israel, but not back to Holland or to Germany because actually I’m, uh, I’m Dutch because I was born there and I was raised there. My sister was there until she was 11 years old. My sister’s name is Rita. She was born in May of 1940.

Gershon and Rita in 1947

You are with no nationality and again, no identity. So the memory of that is not that great. I lived with my foster parents and we went to Belgium or France or Italy because they were quite well to do Dutch Jews. Um, I had to also have special dispensation from the courts and I had a different, I remember a passport was pink instead of blue or a solid color … I was on refugee status, although I was born in the country. And there was no adoption. So finally, when I was 17, my foster parents adopted me to give me a name and give me a citizenship.

I am Jewish by religion, by birth first by birth, by religion and by tradition. And by way of life, I would actually put religion and the, and the traditional out of, out of context here and talk about I’m a Jew by birth and way of life. It’s culture, it’s everything. It encompasses everything for me. It’s just, that’s how I live. It is to me, it’s, it’s a way of life and the way of life is in the mind as well. It’s a way of life. It’s very hard to interpret it a little bit is religion, a little bit of this, a little bit as that in your general behavior, uh, your reactions. If you’re not exposed to Judaism at all, there may be a spark somewhere that still has to be developed. It isn’t developed yet, but I do believe there is some, um, you can be a Jew by choice and be really Jewish if you do buy. But if it’s from birth on and of, or even even a little bit later, it’s a way of life and a tradition that you accept with all its positives and negatives.

I think I have a duty as a Jew to tell my story to the world because every story of every Holocaust survivor is unique because they’re different people and different within themselves. Perception. You need to listen to as many stories. And I, a Jew is a normal person like any other person, the soul, two legs, wants to make it in life. We have certain attributes. We live our religion a bit differently, like everybody else does as well. A fight against bigotry, hatred of Jews is the oldest hatred that exists. And that’s why I find it very important, because we need to always have hope. It’s not my little story that I’m going to tell you here is not going to change people, their attitudes, but I want to have an understanding that they can choose what they think. That’s very important for me that people understand what the Holocaust is about. And other reason that I do it, I owe it to my dead parents so that they’re not just ash. So that they, and they don’t have a proper grave. So they don’t just becoming a number. So during my lifetime that I at least bringing them to life through photos, through pictures. There, there is a story attached to me in my background, people who were murdered because they were good people and didn’t do anything. And it’s also very good. And it’s good for my own psyche to talk about it because it gives me a sense of belonging. It gives me a sense of self and validation that I exist.

What happened is somebody in Germany he contacted the Holocaust Center of Toronto, a number of years ago. And says we have this name, we have got this, this, I don’t know how he knew I was in Toronto that I was here. He found out and he contacted the Holocaust Center, said there in Bad Wildungen, where my father worked, there was a Stolpersteine, five Stolpersteine up, uh, at, at a little Stiebel which was once a synagogue. But below there, because didn’t know exactly know where those people lived. And my father lived in the hotel. So what Jane and I did, we made a special trip to Germany for the first time, because I never had a gravestone of my parents. And it was only the gravestone of my father you know, the Stolperstein you know, how they look and what they are.

And I remember we saw it and, uh, we went to see that, and these men took us there. The Bürgermeister the, the mayor of the town came, he brought a little thing and we polished the stone and it was of five other people. And I didn’t cry. It was not even emotional because I, I think I’d cried enough all my life. And had been through all the emotions of first labeled, not a survivor, and being asked by other Holocaust survivors, you call yourself. So, you know, the survivor, you don’t know anything. You don’t remember anything, another slap in the face, you don’t belong anywhere. So anyway, that gives you somewhere to belong. And I cleaned it up very nicely. We stayed a week. We went to the place where my father worked, which doesn’t exist anymore, but it became a spa for people who are sick with asthma breathing. What is unique about it is that it is for me personally unique, it’s the only gravestone I have of my parents. It’s really ridiculous even to think about it, that only, the only gravestone is in Germany, but it’s there. And, uh, that I felt so at home, in Germany with the Stolperstein maybe it’s my culture where I come from. And I say, Hey, I don’t like nasty people, but these people are good people. And, um, I felt this is something that I can touch, it tangible it’s something of my parents. And it was very important to me. And it was a gravestone to me. It was a great, but, and also that the place that you walk, that you did, you walk over, it doesn’t bother me at all, because if it would be on the wall, I would have to turn my head.

What I also felt that if it is on the ground, so they have to put themselves out for half a second, too. I’m certainly not insulted, some people have got this mishagas you walk on. I have no problem. If you walk over it, it means many people go pass it because, uh, it will be more polished. The second time when I went, I said, you know, something that he said, the stone of your father is going to be taken away from here and placed now where he worked and lived on the main street. I said, that’s wonderful. I said, now I have a request. My parents were murdered on the same day in the same concentration camp. My mother is originally from Germany. Although she is not from this town because Stolpersteine are more of a, you worked or where you lived. I pay for it. Please put my parents, they were married, put them together as a Stolpersteine. They say, not only will we do it, it’s not your business to pay for it, we should. So I went again, said Kaddish again with all my Christian Germans around me and for my, and that’s what the Stolperstein does for me. It gives me historically a feeling that I belong and that people still care. Whether it’s out of guilt or not, I don’t care. It’s still it’s there. And my parents were Germans. They were transplants to Holland out of necessity, but they have still were entrenched in the German culture, German society when they lived there, especially the ones that live in small towns.

Reclaiming in a sense that that’s, it’s part of me, it’s part of my history. It’s part of who I represent and it is fine. And I don’t need to make excuses if people don’t like me because of it what can I do. People understand, people do understand, uh, especially Holocaust survivors who I speak with, they understand, uh, especially now that I have a Stolperstein there it’s a Stolpersteine is the, it’s the plural. Yeah. There’s an attachment. It had an impact on me as I … it’s very hard, but you try to visualize that he actually walked there and he lived there in that. And it’s the town. Yes it had spread out, it is modernized a little bit, but it’s still the core. The old city is, it’s all still the same. And, and, and so you like to, you like to transport you back in the past yourself, back in the past and your hunger actually to know and experience, but you can’t experience because you’re in a different day and time, but what he experienced through would have liked to experience.

Yes. And that is the feeling that I had. So yes, it had an impact, but not in a sentimental way. Uh, just, uh, Hey, this is me, this is again, part of the puzzle that needs another little piece of the puzzle that goes in that I. And there’s still pieces of puzzles that I, I, uh, I I’m looking for in my mind, uh, uh, about family, about the security that the history really is the history as it is about myself, because many children who live today who are wartorn deal with search. The search and the always need to develop themselves and be proud of themselves because their identity is so weak because of the displacement and because of where they have had to go to and how their life went. So I’m very, always very interested today in the downtrodden really.

You always were in search of who am I? What am I? So there’s the big difference that the horrors of the concentration camp, you don’t remember, you don’t know anything about, but you also don’t have the memory of who are you as a family. It could equate that to kids from Syria and from wartorn areas from the Rohingyas and Yazidi’s and people get murdered left right and center today. And so it’s really a very similar stories only that this was a very planned because you have to really define what is genocide and what is Holocaust. There are very different things the Holocaust is a planned annihilation of a people over a long period of time. Not necessarily in one geographical area, which happens. Genocide is usually a spontaneous annihilation people, bad.

Everything is bad ,often in one geographical area and a shorter period of time, not planned necessarily spontaneous, more spontaneous annihilation. So that’s that’s really the difference with the Holocaust. The difference is also, of course, that we spoke different languages. We adhered to different laws. We were members of different societies in different countries, who we were involved with in government and in arts and army in whatever way we were involved with. So, so it’s, it’s unique. Yeah, it’s unique because what do we have to do in 2021 almost, with the Holocaust of all those years ago. You have to make it also that it can be understood by children. And as long as we have are alive still, we it’s our duty to to speak. Well, life is very different, but, but what parallel can I draw? Children are children. They’re spontaneous, they ask questions and there are no inhibitions.

And they ask and if some misconceptions, and they know what parents’ tell the right thing or not the right thing, but they are inquisitive. They want to know, but it’s how you transcribe your knowledge, how you, how you get, how you put it in front of the children. Um, children are children. They are the hope of the whole, the future. So the more, if child is indoctrinated to hate somebody at a very early age it’s very hard to get it out of the child’s system. If a child gets indoctrinated at a very early age with goodness and equality, it’s very hard to get out of their system. So that’s what we have to do. So that’s where I see the parallel. It’s all up to the adults to, to guide the children. And then I see a parallel that children can be. Uh, I see also little children, teenagers in Nazi Germany can be also because of society be, um, although there are many Germans who knew the difference between right and wrong. But if you are allowed to go to a sports school and you go to the mountains to have a nice vacation and you belong to the Hitler youth, you’re damn sure you’re going to belong to the Hitler youth otherwise, you’ll get ostracized and you have no good. You haven’t got a good time. So you do that.

So it’s really up to the children to learn, and I, and I think nothing has changed. The child should know the difference between right and wrong and what it means to, to be a bully, what it means to be all-inclusive, but the child has to have it in them as well. But it has to also, uh, it has to be nurtured by parents, by educators and if you got the stuff nurtured the proper way. And then, then, uh, it’s usually the fright with children also of not knowing of what is strange like with adults., oh no we get to know each other suddenly, and yeah, it’s actually quite nice to find out that you have a different, different traditions, different way of life than I have.”

I met my wife, Jane (née Levy), in England, and we were married in Israel in January 1970. We have three children and, to date, seven grandchildren. In December 1977, we immigrated to Canada. For the first number of years I was employed as a youth and camp director for the Hamilton Jewish community. In 1984, I joined the Children’s Aid Society as a social worker, specializing in working with abused and neglected children. I retired in 2003.
I am active in the Jewish community and spend much time lecturing about my past experiences. In June 2006, we moved to Thornhill to be closer to our children and grandchildren.”

Dear Mr. Willinger I wish you a happy 80th birthday and I hope your story will be an inspiration for many.

sources

https://stumblingstones.ca/gershon-willinger

https://memoirs.azrielifoundation.org/exhibits/sustaining-memories/gershon-willinger/

Johnny & Jones- They were murdered, but not their music.

The one thing that always baffled me is the vehement hate the Nazis had for Jazz music. It was considered ‘Entartete Musik’,-degenerate music a label applied in the 1930s by the Nazis to Jazz and also other forms of music.

I have done a piece on Johnny & Jones before , this is not so much a follow up but more of an enhancement to the previous blog. I feel it is important to remember those who were murdered for their art and their religious background.

In the 1930s, the Amsterdam duo Nol (Arnold Siméon) van Wesel and Max (Salomon Meyer) Kannewasser , alias Johnny and Jones, were extremely popular – thanks in part to their first single Mister Dinges Weet Niet Wat Swing Is. They were cousins, accompanying themselves on guitar, the musicians sang their swinging Jazz songs with smooth lyrics in a semi-American accent. Their careers come to an end when the two Jewish musicians are arrested by the Germans during World War II and they are killed in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

In 1934, “The Bijko Rhythm Stompers” performed in De Bijenkorf, a group consisting of Bob Beek, Max Kannewasser, Max Meents and Nol van Wesel. This is the first time that the collaboration between Max (Salomon Meijer) Kannewasser (24 September 1916/Jones) and Nol (Arnold Simeon) van Wesel (23 August 1918/Johnny) can be traced.
In 1936 Johnny and Jones started performing as a singing duo. They were discovered during a performance in café-restaurant “Van Klaveren” on the corner of Frederiksplein – Weteringschans.
Shortly afterwards they quit their job at De Bijenkorf and entered the artist profession. They soon became the first teenage idols in our country.

They could be heard regularly on VARA radio from 1938. They then performed as an interlude with “The Ramblers”. They recorded records for the record label Decca, which started in November 1938 with the song “Mister Dinges does not know what Swing is”. This song became a great success.

Initially at the start of the war, Johnny and Jones were able to perform without much problem. For example, in February 1941 they performed in Amersfoort with “The Ramblers”, but at the end of 1941 this was forbidden for Jewish artists.

With growing pressure to go into hiding, their final performance was for a wedding reception of one of Arnold’s colleagues from de Bijenkorf(Dutch department store), Wim Duveen.

He married Betty Cohen in the main Synagogue of Amsterdam in 1942. Salomon had married Suzanne Koster in 1942, a woman from the Dutch East Indies (Surabaya) and Arnold had married Gerda Lindenstaedt, also in 1942, a German refugee who had come to Holland 1939.

The young men went into hiding with their wives in the Jewish nursing home “Joodsche Invalide,” where staff would hide them in an elevator between floors during inspections. When they were not hiding, they performed for staff and patients. Disaster struck on 29 September 1943 when the home was raided and its inhabitants sent to Westerbork.

They were put to work there processing parts of crashed aircraft, including Plexiglas (source: Leo Cohen, fellow prisoner in Westerbork).Johnny and Jones found a place in the camp at the revue (consisting of excellent artists). Since only German-language performances were allowed, Johnny and Jones had to learn German. So first that language had to be well mastered, so they only performed in March 1944 during a camp revue.

In August 1944, the two singers were allowed to leave the camp, with permission of the commandant, not only for their work disassembling parts but also to record songs in Amsterdam. In the NEKOS studios they recorded 6 songs about their life in Westerbork, including ‘Westerbork Serenade’.

Below is the translated text of the song.

“Hello we feel a little out of order,
To pull myself together is quite hard,
Suddenly I’m a different person,
My heart beats like the airplane wrecking yard.

I sing my Westerbork serenade,
Along the little rail-way the tiny silver moon shines
On the heath.
I sing my Westerbork serenade
With a pretty lady walking there together,
Cheek to cheek.
And my heart burns like the boiler in the boiler house,
Oh it never hit me quite like this at Mother’s place
I sing my Westerbork serenade,
In between the barracks I threw my arms around her
Over there
This Westerbork love affair.
And so I went over to the medic,
The guy says: “there is nothing you can do;
Oh but you will feel a whole lot better
After you give her a kiss or two
(But that you must not do…)”

A fellow artist who met them at the time wondered how Jews were allowed to walk freely in Amsterdam, without a yellow star. They told him about their temporary freedom. He suggested that they go into hiding but they refused. It was a camp rule: those who escaped risked the lives of their families, who would be deported. So they returned.

In September 1944 they were deported with their wives to Theresienstadt. They did not stay long. On a transport from Theresienstadt the duo were split from their wives: Salomon and Arnold were deported from camp to camp: Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen, Ohrdruf, Buchenwald and then finally, after a 10-day train journey, they ended up in Bergen-Belsen, where they died of exhaustion shortly before liberation and the end of the war. Nol van Wesel died on 20 March 1945, aged 26; Max Kannewasser died on 15 April 1945, aged 28.

Salomon’s mother-in-law, Marie Louise Koster, recalled seeing their bodies dragged out of the sick barracks onto a van, to be cremated. She was in the so-called Stern Lager (Star camp) with her husband Willem and her daughter Sonja. Salomon’s wife Suzanne survived Mauthausen and Auschwitz and lived in the USA until 2018. Gerda was killed in Auschwitz in 1944. Neither had children. Arnold’s parents were killed in Auschwitz in 1942. Salomon’s parents had died before the war. Their cousin Barend Beek went via Westerbork to Auschwitz and was killed in a subcamp of Stutthof on 11 December 1944.

They may have been murdered but their music lives on.

Johnny & Jones, playing for the union crowd of NVV, Breda, 1938.

sources

https://holocaustmusic.ort.org/places/camps/western-europe/westerbork/johnny-jones/

Hans Scholl

When you look at the picture, you would assume it is the mugshot of a hardened criminal. But you couldn’t be further from the truth. The picture is of Hans Scholl. He was arrested and later murdered for exposing the criminals that arrested him.

There wasn’t an awful lot of resistance in Germany against the Nazi regime, but there were some groups who actively defied the Nazis. One of those groups was the ‘White Rose’, Hans and his sister Sophie were the founders of that group.

Born on September 22 1918, Hans Scholl was the typical Aryan ideal. In 1933, he joined the Hitler Youth and quickly became a squad leader. However he soon grew disillusioned with the Nazi party. In 1937 a former member of his group, Ernest Reden, confessed to a homosexual relationship with him. Hans was arrested and kept in solitary confinement before admitting the allegations were true. Hans made a positive impact on the judge, who dismissed the choice to join the youth groups as the “youthful exuberance” and “obstinate personality” of a “headstrong young man.” The judge then dismissed the homosexual allegations as a “youthful failing.” Although he was charged under “Paragraph 175”, the paragraph in Nazi law that criminalized homosexual behavior,Hans was allowed to leave the trial with a clean slate. Ernest Reden, on the other hand, was sentenced to three months prison and three months in a concentration camp for the relationship.

Paragraph 175 was only abolished in 1994.

In the summer of 1940 Scholl was sent as a member of the medical corps that went with the German Army invading France. Although he observed little of the actual fighting as he was working at a field hospital where four hundred soldiers were being treated. As a medic he assisted during leg amputations and other operations. He was based in the town of Saint-Quentin and felt guilty about living in requisitioned houses. He told his parents in a letter: “I liked it better when we slept on straw. What am I – a decent person or a robber?”

Scholl returned to his studies in Munich. He attended classes at the university, listened to lectures at various clinics around the city, and attended the wounded soldiers who had returned from fighting on the front-line. He told his sister Inge Scholl: “Going from bed to bed to hold out one’s hand to people in pain is deeply satisfying. It’s the only time I’m really happy. But it’s madness just the same… If it weren’t for this senseless war there would be no wounded to be cared for in the first place.”

Hans was again enrolled in the military service in the spring of 1941 as a medic in the Wehrmacht. After his experiences at the Eastern Front, having learned about mass murder in Poland and the Soviet Union, Scholl and one of his friends, Alexander Schmorell, felt compelled to take action.

In 1942, Hans ,Sophie and others founded the non-violent underground protest movement called The White Rose. From the end of June until mid-July 1942, they wrote the first four leaflets. Quoting extensively from the Bible, Aristotle and Novalis, as well as Goethe and Schiller, the German poets, they appealed to what they considered the German intelligentsia, believing that these people would be easily convinced by the same arguments that also motivated the authors themselves. These leaflets were left in telephone books in public phone booths, mailed to professors and students, and taken by courier to other universities for distribution.

Hans also was responsible for graffiti on public buildings which read ‘Down With Hitler’ and ‘Hitler the Mass Murderer.’ The siblings continued to distribute the leaflets until they were apprehended in 1943 after throwing dozens of fliers from a university window.

“Since the conquest of Poland, 300,000 Jews have been murdered in this country in the most bestial way … The German people slumber on in dull, stupid sleep and encourage the fascist criminals. Each wants to be exonerated of guilt, each one continues on his way with the most placid, calm conscience. But he cannot be exonerated; he is guilty, guilty, guilty!”

— 2nd leaflet of the White Rose.

The Scholls and another member of White Rose, Christoph Probst, were scheduled to stand trial before the Volksgerichtshof—the Nazi “People’s Court” notorious for its unfair political trials, which more often than not ended with a death sentence—on 22 February 1943. They were found guilty of treason. Roland Freisler, head judge of the court, sentenced them to death. The three were executed the same day by guillotine at Stadelheim Prison. Sophie went under the guillotine first, followed by Hans and then Christoph. While Sophie and Christoph were silent as they died, Hans yelled “es lebe die Freiheit!” (long live freedom) as the blade fell.

IN THE NAME OF THE GERMAN PEOPLE in the action against

  1. Hans Fritz Scholl, Munich, born at Ingersheim, 22 September 1918,
  2. Sophia Magdalena Scholl, Munich, born at Forchtenberg, 9 May 1921,
  3. Christoph Hermann Probst, of Aldrans bei Innsbruck, born at Murnau, 6 November 1919, now in investigative custody regarding treasonous assistance to the enemy, preparing to commit high treason, and weakening of the nation’s armed security, the People’s Court first Senate, pursuant to the trial held on 22 February 1943, in which the officers were:
    President of the People’s Court Dr. Freisler, Presiding,Director of the Regional Judiciary Stier, SS Group Leader Breithaupt, SA Group Leader Bunge, State Secretary and SA Group Leader Koglmaier, and representing the Attorney General to the Supreme Court of the Reich, Reich Attorney Weyersberg,
    [We]find: That the accused have in time of war by means of leaflets called for the sabotage of the war effort and armaments and for the overthrow of the National Socialist way of life of our people, have propagated defeatist ideas, and have most vulgarly defamed the Führer, thereby giving aid to the enemy of the Reich and weakening the armed security of the nation.
    On this account they are to be punished by death.
    Their honor and rights as citizens are forfeited for all time.

— Translation made by Berlin Documents Center HQ US Army Berlin Command of 1943 Decree against the “White Rose” group.

Something that is often overlooked is the fact that Hans had 4 more siblings aside from Sophie.

Inge Aicher-Scholl (1917–1998) she wrote a book about the White Rose after the war.

Elisabeth Scholl Hartnagel (1920–2020), married Sophie’s long-term boyfriend, Fritz Hartnagel

Werner Scholl (1922–1944) missing in action and presumed dead in June 1944. In 1942, Werner was sent out to the Russian front, where, by chance, he was stationed near Hans. The two were able to see each other fairly often.

Werner and Sophie Scholl

Thilde Scholl (1925–1926)

Robert Scholl was a politician and the father of Hans and Sophie Scholl. He was a critic of the Nazi Party before, during and after the Nazi regime, and was twice sent to prison for his criticism of Nazism. He was mayor of Ingersheim 1917–1920, mayor of Forchtenberg 1920–1930 and lord mayor of Ulm 1945–1948, and co-founded the All-German People’s Party in 1952.

On 27 February 1943, five days after the execution of his children Hans and Sophie as members of the White Rose, Scholl was sentenced to 18 months in prison for listening to enemy radio broadcasts.

Although this post is titled ‘Hans Scholl’ we should not forget the sacrifices made by the other family members.

Hans Scholl would have been 104 today. In wikipedia he is called an activist, but he was much more then that.

sources

https://www.gdw-berlin.de/en/recess/biographies/index_of_persons/biographie/view-bio/hans-scholl/?no_cache=1

https://legacyprojectchicago.org/person/hans-scholl

https://spartacus-educational.com/GERschollH.htm

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/paragraph-175-and-the-nazi-campaign-against-homosexuality

Ernst Knorr-Evil for the sake of being Evil.

I sincerely believe that some people are just born evil. If it hadn’t been for war, their evil ways would probably have been displayed in other ways.

Dr. Ernst Knorr was born Heiligenbeil,Germany on October 13, 1899. He died in Scheveningen, the Netherlands on July 7, 1945he was an SS officer in the rank of SS-Untersturmführer (second lieutenant), but he was also a Doctor.. He led the SD. He was part of Referat IV-A (Bekämpfung Kommunismus) of the Sicherheitsdienst in The Hague and was known as the executioner at interrogations.

If prisoners had to be tortured during interrogations, it was euphemistically indicated that they would call the doctor. His workplace was Binnenhof 7.which is near the Dutch parliament. Until the beginning of June 1941, the communists were only kept under surveillance and deliberately not yet arrested, partly because of this Knorr could be involved in other activities. He was present at the violent interrogation in which the Resistance fighter Sjaak Boezeman was killed.

He was taken to the Binnenhof and interrogated by five SD men, including Ernst Knorr . At 03:15 Sjaak was taken back unconscious to the Oranjehotel, he was in bad shape. The SD’ers claimed that Sjaak tried to cut his own wrist arteries with a razor. When he regained consciousness, Sjaak told the guards that the Germans slit his wrists. That morning Sjaak Boezeman died in his cell. He is the first or one of the first Dutch resistance fighter to be murdered by the Nazis. Albert Schaap, a prison guard at the Oranjehotel prison, testified later:

“I then saw that his back was all wounded, for he was completely covered with bruises and his whole back was covered with blood. He could not speak properly, as his whole face was shattered and the blood was running out of his mouth. “

From the beginning of June 1941 Ernst Knorr was involved in the violent interrogation of communists in The Hague. On September 2, 1941, he was the leader of a team of 3-5 people that interrogated the communist Herman Holstege in the prison of Scheveningen (Oranjehotel) so cruelly that it was expected that he would die. The intention was to learn from Holstege, who had remained silent for a month, the names of his contacts at the communist party leadership in Amsterdam. Knorr penetrated Holstege’s anus with a rubber bat, after which the intestines were tamped. Holstege, however, gave little information and not the names of the leadership in Amsterdam. Holstege died the next day. In view of the preparations in the Oranjehotel, the torture was planned. In a post-war report, this was referred to as stupidity, because it lost the opportunity to track down the party leadership in Amsterdam.

In the course of 1942, Knorr was sidetracked and replaced by Hans Munt. In post-war reports, Munt indicated that these acts of violence were the reason for the changes in position, but in practice they did not mean the end of the torture of communists.

On February 19, 1943, a trap was set up in Delft for the communist resistance fighter Gerrit Kastein. Three SD men were waiting for him in a cafe, while Knorr waited outside in the car. Kastein was arrested and taken to the car. Near the car, Kastein managed to pull out a pistol and shoot. He injured Knorr quite badly; after the cars drove away, a pool of blood remained on the street. Gerrit Willem Kastein jumped out of the window at the Binnenhof on 21 February 1943 but did not survive the fall.

The extremely violent interrogations not only cause the deaths of Sjaak and Gerrit Willem. The valuable secrets they carry are also lost. This goes too far for Ernst’s superiors, as a punishment he is transferred to the Scholtenhuis in Groningen. There Ernst continues his violent practices.

There, too, he stood out for his cruelty. He murdered the resistance fighter Esmée van Eeghen, her body was riddled with bullets, and dumped in the Van Starkenborgh Canal. Van Eeghen is controversial because she fell in love with a German officer, but in spite of this played a significant role in the resistance, especially in Friesland, a role that would ultimately be fatal for her, due to her turbulent love life. The character Rachel Stein from the 2006 film Black Book was based on the life of van Eeghen.

Although van Eeghen was financially independent, she took up a job as a nurse in the Amsterdam civil hospital. In the spring of 1943 she entered into a love affair with the medical student Henk Kluvers.[1] When he was supposed to sign the declaration of loyalty for students in the spring, he went to Leeuwarden to evade this signature. Van Eeghen followed him and supported him and his friend Pieter Meersburg to hide Jewish children on behalf of the Landelijke Organisatie voor Hulp aan Onderduikers (LO) in the north of the country. They saved the lives of at least 100 children.

Klaas Carel Faber, execution command member and escaped war criminal, said about the execution:

“I saw Miss Esmee get out of the car. She had only just gotten out of the car when I saw Knorr firing at Miss Esmee. After the first shot I saw her fall to the ground. I heard she was still screamed. I saw Knorr shoot her ten more times.”

On April 16, 1945, Knorr withdrew to Schiermonnikoog with a number of German soldiers. It was the intention that people would be picked up by boat from Borkum to go back to Germany. It was not until May 27 that a Dutch officer went to the island to demand the surrender. The group was transferred to the mainland on May 30 and locked up in prison in Groningen. Knorr was transferred on June 27 by Canadian Field Security to the so-called Kings Prison in Scheveningen, located in the penal prison.

On July 7, 1945, Knorr was found dead in his cell. He had a piece of rope around his neck. In the cell, however, there was no high fulcrum to hang oneself from. According to statements from other Germans in prison, Knorr had been severely beaten and died as a result. No autopsy report has been prepared. Later, a prison doctor stated that it was technically possible that Knorr committed suicide by attaching the rope low to the wall and strangling himself by hanging over.

sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/artikel/de-gewelddadige-praktijken-van-folteraar-ernst-knorr

https://peoplepill.com/people/ernst-knorr-1

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/thema/Arrestatie%20Gerrit%20Willem%20Kastein

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/tijdlijn/Esmee-van-Eeghen/03/0004

Holocaust

So many words can be read and written about the Holocaust, but it is often the images that stick in ones mind. They say a picture paints a thousand words. In this blog there will only be pictures, and although all of them are horrific. none are graphic. There will be no description with the pictures because I believe they all speak for themselves.

source

Labor Camp Wieringermeer -Klaus Barbie’s lie.

Werkdorp (Labor Camp) Wieringermeer was opened in 1934, and was managed by the Jewish Labor Foundation. It could accommodate about 300 residents, who would follow a short (two-year) training course.

The Werkdorp , built by the residents themselves – mostly refugees from Germany and Austria – was intended to train its temporary residents in practical skills that would enable them to live in israel and work in agriculture. The boys received a two-year manual or agricultural training, the girls a short instruction in agriculture and housekeeping. In the village there was a carpenter, a blacksmith, a bakery and a joiner’s workshop.

After the German invasion and occupation in the Netherlands, the village was evacuated on March 20 1941, except for about 60 who stayed behind. W. Lages and Klaus Barbie were involved.
From August 1940 until the eviction in March 1941, Abel Herzberg was director of the Jewish working village in the Wieringermeer. Herzberg was on the so-called Frederiks( Karel Johannes Frederiks was the secretary general of the department of internal affairs) list with his wife and three children and therefore enjoyed a certain protection.

On March 24, 1941, a number of members of the foundation board sent a letter to the Sicherheitspolizei in Amsterdam stating that continuing the training in the Werkdorp was the only option for the young people to emigrate afterwards. It was hoped that this would appeal to the occupier. Klaus Barbie indicated that he was sympathetic to a restart of the Werkdorp and would discuss this with Lages. On June 9, there was an answer and the members of the foundation board were told that the students could return to the Werkdorp. Barbie asked for a list of the names and addresses of the students living in Amsterdam. The foundation board believed Barbie and gave him the list. On June 11, the Werkdorpers received a message from the Jewish Council that the Nazis would come and collect them from their homes. A number of people did not believe what was about to happen and went into hiding.

Indeed, the Nazis had something else in mind. The attack on 14 May 1941 on the Bernard Zweerskade in Amsterdam – without casualties – and the attack on 3 June 1941 on the telephone exchange at Schiphol – one seriously injured – prompted the Nazis to carry out reprisal measures and they wanted 300 male Jews from 18 to 35 directly to Mauthausen.
The arrests of the Werkdorpers started on 11 June. In the end, 59 were arrested. They went to camp Schoorl. 58 of them were murdered in Mauthausen, one was gassed in Hartheim Castle.

Like Westerbork, Wieringermeer had also been built to accommodate Jewish refugees, prior to the war, but they were both turned into much more cynical places.

On August 12th, 1944 a report was issued in Haifa, Israel. regarding the situation of the Dutch Jewry up to May 1944, The transports to the death camps continued for another 4 months . Below is the transcript of the report. Wieringermeer is also mentioned in it.

There were 140.000 Jews in Holland at the beginning of the war (incl. 26.000 non dutch Jews)

Deported to Poland (including all orphanages, old-age homes, hospitals, lunatic-asylum Apeldoorn, and all Jews from Vught-camp excepting a few hundred working in Vught for Philips) 110.000

Bergen-Belsen 4.000

Westerbork 2.500

Theresienstadt 2.000

In hiding (estimated) 15.000

Married to Christians etc, deceased (all estimated) 6.000

(The number of Jews who are free in Amsterdam – there are none in the provinces – is negligible)

The ‘star’ of which I enclose one, had to be worn as from May 1942; the deportations started July 15th 1942 Up to December 31st 1942 40.000 Jews had been deported.

Wieringen on March 20th 1941 210 pupils (boys and girls with the Jewish manager) were brought to Amsterdam about 60 pupils and 20 people from the staff were allowed to remain in order to finish the harvesting of that years crops; they were allowed to remain until August 1st 1941 when the Werkdorp was finally liquidated.

About 60 of the pupils were sent to Mauthausen;

“ 100 were deported to Poland

“ 50 are still in Westerbork and Bergen-Belsen

“ 60 are in hiding.

The dutch authorities paid an indemnity for the property they took over; (although it were the Germans who ordered the liquidation; this money was used to keep two ‘Homes’ in Amsterdam for the remaining pupils until they too were finally dispersed in the great razzias on May 26th and June 20th 1943. The equipment of the carpentershop and the smithy and metalshop was used in trainingschools in Amsterdam and finally brought to Westerbork.

The following data were given to me in Vienna on my way through to Constantinople by the assistant of Dr Löwenherz who could not come personally;

Data July let 1944: Vienna Free Jews … 180

In hiding ………………………………………….. 2000

Versippte (Intermarriage etc) ………… 6- 8000

Sent to Theresienstadt 15000 (of whom 3800 still there)

Sent to Poland…………………………………… 48000

The rest (there were 2100000) emigrated or died.

9000 Hungarian Jews had come through Vienna on their way to Poland; 41000 were still expected. (We saw two transports of 1000 each, one in Vienna and one on the way to Hungary) 310000 jews in Budapest had not yet been interfered with.

Haifa, August 12th 1944″

It was signed by someone with the last name ‘Van Tijn’ unfortunately I don’t know who that is.

sources

https://www.tracesofwar.nl/sights/52637/Voormalig-Joods-Werkkamp-Nieuwe-Sluis.htm

https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/holocaust/dutch-jewry/

Desecrating Synagogues

The Holocaust wasn’t only the mass murder of the European Jews and other groups, it was also desecrating places of worships, especially synagogues,. It was showing total contempt and disrespect for holy places.

The above picture was taken on September 16,1944. It shows American and Canadian Jewish soldiers clear the synagogue in Maastricht , which was used as a warehouse during the war. This photo appeared in the New York Times of September 16, 1944 under the caption: “Hope springs eternal”.

The V-actions were Allied propaganda expressions based on the V-sign (V for Victory). To curb the success of these actions, the Germans devised a similar action: ‘V=Victory, because Germany wins for Europe on all fronts’. In August 1941, the synagogue in Apeldoorn. was set on fire, and daubed during on of those V-actions.

The synagogue in Deventer, destroyed by the Nazis, 1941.

Synagogue of Nijmegen, in Gerard Noodtstraat, defaced with anti-Semitic slogans and a Swastika , August 1941

Defaced synagogue in Beverwijk, circa 1942

The synagogue in Apeldoorn was set on fire and defaced by NSB members. August 1941.

Synagogue Paslaan 18, in Apeldoorn. Set on fire by NSB members in mid-August 1941.

What pains me to say is that all of these synagogues were desecrated by Dutch and not Germans. They probably were members of the NSB, the Dutch Nazi Party, buy they were Dutch and no one forced them to do this.

source

A murdered family.

The baby in the picture is Jonas David Kloot, he would have celebrated his 80th birthday today. He would have been blowing out 80 birthday candles on his birthday cake. But he didn’t even get to blow out his first birthday candle. Jonas was born on September 15,1942 in Amsterdam. Less then 9 months later, June 11,1943 he was murdered in Sobibor.

The other people in the photograph are Jonas’s dad, Hijman Kloot. Born in Amsterdam, on 5 June 1904. Murdered in Sobibor, 9 July 1943.Reached the age of 39 years. Occupation: Merchant

Jonas’s Mother, Femmina Kloot-Engelsman. Born in Amsterdam, 19 March 1908 . Murdered in Sobibor, 11 June 1943.

Jonas’s oldest sister, Clara Kloot. Born in Amsterdam, 7 March 1931.Murdered in Sobibor, 11 June 1943. Reached the age of 12

Jonas’s youngest sister, Annie Kloot. Born in Amsterdam, 7 August 1935.Murdered in Sobibor, 11 June 1943. Reached the age of 7.

Femmina and her 3 children were all murdered on the same day. They were all deported from Westerbork to Sobibor on June 8,1943 and were murdered on arrival on June 11,1943.

The Kloot family were not the only ones on that Transport. There were in total 3015 on that train, the majority were murdered on arrival in Sobibor on June 11,1943. Just think about that, about 2900 were murdered on one day.

The ages of those on the transport were:

Hijman Kloot and Femmina Engelsman married in 1929 in Amsterdam.

All members of the extended Kloot members were murdered in Sobibor, with the exception of Samuel Kloot and Isaac Kloot, 2 brothers of Hijman Koot, they were murdered in Auschwitz.

Samuel’s wife and 2 year old son were also murdered in Auschwitz. As were the 9 year old daughter, and wife of Isaac Kloot.

sources

https://www.oorlogsbronnen.nl/mensen?transport_from=https://data.niod.nl/WO2_Thesaurus/kampen/4869&transport_to=https://data.niod.nl/WO2_Thesaurus/kampen/4855&transport_date=1943-6-8

https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/177108/hijman-kloot

The Dutch Railways

The Netherlands have been in the grip of a series of Railway strikes, the last few weeks. The staff is not pleased with their new work agreements, hence the strikes. Of course it is their good right to do so, However I couldn’t help but wonder ‘Why didn’t they go on strike between 1941 and 1944?’ . In those years more then 100,000 fellow Dutchmen and women were transported to their deaths, on basically the same rail tracks.

Now I know there had been a few strikes, and of course there was always that threat of being punished by the Nazi regime, but if they had displayed a united front, I wonder how many lives would have been saved.

These are just some of those trains that were technically used as weapons of mass destruction.

source

The execution of Amon Göth. September 13-1946

Anyone who has seen ‘Schindler’s List’ will know about Amon Göth, who was played by Ralph Fiennes in the movie.

Göth was the son of a prosperous publisher in Vienna. In 1931 he became a member of the Austrian Nazi Party at the age of 23.He was granted full party membership on 31 May 1931. His decision to join the party at this early stage meant that he was considered an Alter Kämpfer (Old Fighter), i.e., one who had joined the party before Adolf Hitler’s rise to the position of Chancellor of Germany.

Göth rose steadily through the SS ranks, earning a promotion to untersturmführer (equivalent to second lieutenant) in 1941 and joining Operation Reinhard, the Nazi campaign to kill the Jews of occupied Poland, in 1942. He was made commandant of Plaszow in February 1943 but remained active elsewhere, supervising the violent closings of the Kraków ghetto (March 1943), the Tarnów ghetto, and the Szebnie concentration camp (both in September 1943). His performance so pleased his superiors that he was promoted two ranks to hauptsturmführer (equivalent to army captain) in summer 1943.

In Plaszow, Göth had many prisoners killed as punishment for infractions, but he also killed randomly and capriciously. From the balcony of his villa, he took target practice with his rifle on prisoners as they moved about the camp.

Joseph Bau, a Polish-born Israeli artist, philosopher, inventor, animator, comedian, commercial creator, copy-writer, poet, and survivor of the Płaszów concentration camp, said about Göth.

“A hideous and terrible monster who reached the height of more than two meters. He set the fear of death in people, terrified masses, and accounted for much chattering of teeth.

He ran the camp through extremes of cruelty that are beyond the comprehension of a compassionate mind – employing tortures which dispatched his victims to hell.

For even the slightest infraction of the rules, he would rain blow after blow upon the face of the helpless offender and would observe with satisfaction born of sadism, how the cheek of his victim would swell and turn blue, how the teeth would fall out and the eyes would fill with tears.

Anyone who was being whipped by him was forced to count in a loud voice, each stroke of the whip and if he made a mistake was forced to start counting over again.

During interrogations, which were conducted in his office, he would set his dog on the accused, who was strung by his legs from a specially placed hook in the ceiling.

In the event of an escape from the camp, he would order the entire group from which the escapee had come, to form a row, would give the order to count ten, and would, personally kill every tenth person.

At one morning parade, in the presence of all the prisoners he shot a Jew, because, as he complained, the man was too tall. Then as the man lay dying he urinated on him.

Once he caught a boy who was sick with diarrhea and was unable to restrain himself. Goeth forced him to eat all the excrement and then shot him”.

He was even to evil for Nazi standards. On 13 September 1944, Göth was relieved of his position and charged by the SS with theft of Jewish property (which belonged to the state, according to Nazi regulations), failure to provide adequate food to the prisoners under his charge, violation of concentration camp regulations regarding the treatment and punishment of prisoners, and allowing unauthorised access to camp personnel records by prisoners and non-commissioned officers. Administration of the camp at Płaszów was turned over to SS-Obersturmführer Arnold Büscher. The camp was closed on 15 January 1945.Göth was scheduled for an appearance before SS Judge Georg Konrad Morgen, but due to the progress of World War II and Germany’s looming defeat, the charges against him were dropped in early 1945.

All those charges against him may appear that the Nazis actually cared for the wellbeing of prisoners, but that wasn’t the case. It only meant that Göth’s crimes were against the ‘greater good’ of the third reich. He enriched himself and used prisoners for his own benefit.

After being diagnosed with diabetes, he was sent to an SS sanitarium in Bad Tölz, Germany, where he was arrested by U.S. troops in early 1945. The Americans turned him over to the restored Polish government, which then tried him for war crimes, most notably the killing of more than 10,000 people in the Plaszow and Szebnie camps and in the Kraków and Tarnów ghettos. Göth’s defense was that he was only following orders. After the brief trial, he was convicted on September 5, 1946, and hanged eight days later. He was sentenced to death and was hanged on 13 September 1946 at the Montelupich Prison in Kraków, not far from the site of the Płaszów camp. His remains were cremated and the ashes thrown in the Vistula River. Allegedly his last words were ‘Heil Hitler’.

In addition to his two marriages, Göth had a two-year relationship with Ruth Irene Kalder, a beautician and aspiring actress originally from Breslau (or Gleiwitz; sources vary). Kalder first met Göth in 1942 or early 1943 when she worked as a secretary at Oskar Schindler’s enamelware factory in Kraków. She met Göth when Schindler brought her to dinner at the villa at Płaszów; she said it was love at first sight. She soon moved in with Göth and the two had an affair, but she stated that she never visited the camp itself. Göth’s second wife Anna, still living in Vienna with their two children, filed for divorce upon learning of Göth’s affair with Kalder. Kalder left for Bad Tölz to be with her mother for the birth of her daughter, Monika Hertwig , on 7 November 1945. She was Göth’s last child. Kalder was devastated by Göth’s execution in 1946, and she took Göth’s name shortly after his death.

In 2002, Hertwig published her memoirs under the title Ich muß doch meinen Vater lieben, oder? (“I do have to love my father, don’t I?”). Hertwig described her mother as unconditionally glorifying Göth until confronted with his role in the Holocaust. Kalder suffered from emphysema and committed suicide in 1983 shortly after giving an interview in Jon Blair’s documentary Schindler. Hertwig’s experiences in dealing with her father’s crimes are detailed in Inheritance, a 2006 documentary directed by James Moll. Appearing in the documentary is Helen Jonas-Rosenzweig, one of Göth’s Jewish former housemaids. The documentary details the meeting of the two women at the Płaszów memorial site in Poland. Hertwig had requested the meeting, but Jonas-Rosenzweig was hesitant because her memories of Göth and the concentration camp were so traumatic. She eventually agreed after Hertwig wrote to her, “We have to do it for the murdered people.” Jonas felt touched by this sentiment and agreed to meet her.

Monika Hertwig in front of her father’s villa in Plaszow.

Monika’s daughter Jennifer Teege is a German writer. Her grandfather was Amon Göth. Her 2015 book ‘My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past’ was a New York Times bestseller. I don’t agree with that because if it was up to her Grandfather she wouldn’t even have been born, because of her Father’s Nigerian background.

sources

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Amon-Goth

https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24347798

https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24347798

Inheritance: Beyond the Film With James, Monika and Helen