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This is very cruel, Oskar. You're giving them hope. You shouldn't do that. That's cruel!
~ Amon Goeth.
I would like so much to reach out to you and touch you in your loneliness. What would it be like, I wonder? What would be wrong with that? I realize that you are not a person in the strictest sense of the word, but maybe you’re right about that too. I mean, when they compare you to vermin, to rodents and to lice. You make a very good point. Is this the face of a rat? Are these the eyes of a rat? “Hath not a Jew eyes?” I feel for you, Helen.
~ Amon Goeth expressing his lust for Helen Hirsch.
Amon Goeth is the main antagonist of the 1993 Steven Spielberg's epic World War II drama Schindler's List. He is a Junior Lieutenant, later Commander of the SS, responsible for ordering the liquidation of the Plazow ghetto and murdering Jews in the Krakow ghetto. He is based off of the real life Nazi of the same name.
Amon Goeth appears in the Krakow Ghetto (after ordering the liquidation of the Plazow Ghetto), attentively checking the Jews assigned in the ghetto. He hires Helen Hirsch as his maid for his household in the hills above the ghetto. He then kills a Jewish civil engineer who attempts to make a barracks but breaking it down due to issues regarding the space not capable to fit the barracks. However, he follows her orders in tearing down the barracks on construction anyways. Later on, he befriends ethnic businessman Oskar Schindler.
He shows an abusive and sadistic side, as stated by Itzhak Stern, he killed 25 Jews and shot out two of them by sniping them from the balcony since one was tying her boots while carrying a wheelbarrow and one who sat in the stairs, scaring and causing nearby Jews to dig faster, although there wasn't enough progress, but Goeth did not kill them. He killed a Jew that stole the chicken then interrogates a boy on who stole it, but the boy pointed the one that Goeth killed. He tried having Rabbi Lewartow executed (who was supposed to shove coal, but was making hinges instead, but made a small pile of it, lacking real progress) but angrily spares the Rabbi (as both of his guns failed to work).
Goeth later had a conversation with Schindler about what power is and is convinced to show mercy towards the Jews in order to gain that power. However, he later killed a Jewish boy (though Goeth dismissed him from housework, but later reconsidered and shot him in the head with a sniper rifle) then ordered thousands of Jewish corpses burned down after Schindler found ashes in not only his car, but everywhere. He told Schindler that he will make shipments in 30 or 40 days since there were too many dead Jews in the Krakow Ghetto and that there wasn't enough progress to satisfy the Nazi war efforts.
Later, on a few years ago, he beats up Helen after a failed attempt to flirt with her (though he expressed that he feels for Helen but reconsiders when Helen doesn't reciprocate) then however after agreeing to the release of 1100 Jews for Schindler, charges a heavy bribe from him. He finds that the last of Schindler's list has a blank space. Realizing that Schindler wants him to give up Helen, Goeth refuses but later reconsiders and allows Helen to go with Schindler and says goodbye.
While being a patient in Bad Tolz, Goeth was found by the Red Army and was then executed by hanging for crimes against humanity. His last words were "Heil Hitler".
Goeth is a pure Nazi: anti-Sementic, homophobic, and fanatically devoted to the cause of National Socialism, and is said by many to be one of the most sadistic and inhuman SS captains of the Waffen-SS. He does not cry or show happiness. The real life Amon Goeth was diagnosed with a mental illness. He enjoys killing Jews as far as he can, using many of them for target practice and even murdering ones the Nazis needed for workers. He possesses a highly tactical mind, when he ordered the Plazow Ghetto liquidated, and anger, as he yelled angrily while beating up Helen Hirsch (for not returning his feelings for her). He hates sparing Jews, as he stops execution of the Rabbi. He harbors deep hate for the Jews, as he killed a lot of them unnecessarily. Goeth is reserved and secretive, since he, according to Schindler, does not allow anyone to know it is a Jew he enjoys. Being a Nazi, Goeth is strongly loyal to Adolf Hitler, proclaiming his allegiance to him moments before his execution.
Despite his polite façade and him fighting for Hitler's cause, Goeth does not have any actual redeeming qualities. He is nothing more than a sadistic monster who kills those he hates for fun, and also shows little true regard for his men.
The real Amon Goeth could not shoot his sniper rifle from the balcony as his house and the Krakow-Płaszów camp were separated by a hill that would obscure his view. Instead, he rode his horse to the hill and from there, he would shoot prisoners. Whether it was mostly for fun or to intimidate prisoners into working harder (like in the movies) is mostly unknown.
Płaszów camp had to be reconstructed in a nearby Liban quarry, as modern high rise apartments were visible from the site of the original camp. This version of the camp was viewable from Goeth's villa in the film. Interestingly, Liban quarry was also used by the Germans during their occupation.
As vile as he is in the movie, Amon Goeth's actions were actually downplayed by the director Steven Spielberg, so people wouldn't think he was too cartoonishly and inhumanely evil (they were also downplayed due to movie's time constraints). The real life Amon Goeth had far more specific mechanisms for the torture and killing of Jews that Spielberg preferred not to show. Even so, Goeth in the movie was still seen by some critics as cartoonishly evil despite being historically accurate.
Ralph Fiennes bore such a striking resemblance to the real Amon Goeth when in costume that Płaszów camp survivor Mila Pfefferberg trembled in fear when she first met him on the film set.