Posted Gabor Sarosi
It seemed to be a regular nightshift at the Natanz and Fordo nuclear facilities in Iran. Scientists were working on their computers, technicians were checking if everything goes well in order to raise the Islamic Republic into the priviliged group of nations having nuclear weapons power.
In the middle of the night the computers suddenly started playing “Thunderstruck” from AC/DC, then the automation network, an important element of the nuclear sites were shut down, causing a delay in the progress. Just as Stuxnet 2 years ago, this cyber attack was probably made and organised from Israel in order to interrupt Iran’s nuclear aspirations.
For Israel (and for most of the World) there is a bad and a worse scenario. The bad one is a war between the Jewish state and Iran, the worse is a nuclear Iran. The first one endangers the security of Israel, the second one endangers its very existence. And both can lead to an all-out Middle-Eastern war.
An Israeli attack against the dicatorship’s nuclear facilities wouldn’t be something new to the Israeli Air Force. They did it succesfully in Iraq in 1981, and in Syria in 2007. Israel has the most developed air force in the region, which can easily carry out a precise attack against a target without endangering civilian areas just as it happened in the above mentioned events. But now, there are a few problems with that. Seems like the Persians have more brain than the Arabs (no offense). Iraq and Syria have tried to build their nuclear plants at one place, making it easily and quickly destroyable. Iran has split it to several sites throughout the huge country. One quick action would not be enough this time. Another problem is the Irani long-range missiles, which can hit Israel. Also, Ahmadinejad’s answer would not be limited on military facilities, but might target residential areas. And Israel is a small country, whith most of its population residing in the tiny central coastal area around Tel-Aviv.
This last fact makes the second option, a nuclear Iran lethal to the Jewish state, and to millions of its inhabitants. Jerusalem has no other choice, than preventing Teheran from having atomic bombs no matter how high the cost will be.
The good news is: war might not be the only option. Sending viruses into the computer systems of nuclear sites as well as to military installations cause no civilian deaths, doesn’t destroy residential buildings, schools or hospitals. It seems to be the most humanistic option.
The last few worms which were probably sent by Israel could only delay the progress of achieving the technology of the atomic bomb, but could not completely stop it. Hopefully these ones were only the test for the real one, which will ultimately take the whole system down. I really hope it is possible, and a war will be avoidable.
Technology can always be used for good and bad causes. Nuclear power provides us with light and heating, but also enables us to kill more people in less time than ever. Helicopters help us to save lives by taking sick people to the hospitals quickly, as-well-as to bomb buidlings in war situations. Even a piece of paper can be used for a love letter or racistic incitement. Every invention gives us the opportunity to use it for peaceful or hostile purposes.
Computer viruses and hacking used to be considered as having only bad sides. Now they might have the chance to destroy Iran’s atomic aspirations and prevent a war, saving the lives of many Jews, Muslims and Christians.
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August 6, 2012 | 12:30 pm
Posted Ian Shulman
“Русини, Поляки, Жиди, Німці, Австрійці, Мадяри, Вірмени, Цигани, Греки і Татари впродовж століть спільно творили Галичину — світ, в якому не було зла. Лише у нашій відповідальности зробити так, аби галицьке юнацтво замість балачок, хто ж більше любить „свою“ Неньку, цілувалося по брамах і кінах. І замість розмов, хто ж більший чудотворець — ксьондз чи рабин — ставили парафіян і кагал до відома — „я кохаю Шльому, а він — мене. І нема на то ради. Благословіть нас просто“.
Ця кнайпа — нехай і маленький, але чесний крок. Від страшного й трагічного — до світу нового. Незнаного. Ми просто віримо, що він росте у Пласті, Бріт Трумпельдорі та Бейтарі, у наших галицьких дітваках. І ми віримо, що колись Отець Небесний зглянеться над нами. Й знову ся всміхне. І наші діти будуть мудрішими, і добрішими за нас. У себе вдома. У Львові.“
“Ruthenians, Poles, Jews, Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, Armenians, Gypsies, Greeks and Tatars – all were for centuries creating Galicia together, a world with no evil. It’s our responsibility to make sure that instead of discussing who loves ‘his’ or ‘her’ Motherland more, the young people of Galicia are kissing behind each gate or door. And instead of discussing who is greater – a priest or a rabbi – they just inform the ones in churches and synagogues -‘I love Shloma, and he loves me. And there’s nothing here to discuss. Just give us your blessings’.
This place is a small, but an honest step. A step from the terrible and the tragic to the world of new. The world of unknown. We just believe, that this world is growing in Plast, Brit Trumpeldor and Beitar, in our Galician children. And we believe, that one day the Heavenly Father will look down at us and smile again. And our children will grow wiser and kinder then we are. Here at home, in Lviv.“
This is what I read on the menu’s cover sitting on the terrace of ‘Halyc’ka Zhydivska Knaipa’, which can be liberally translated as ‘Galician Jewish Pub’. It was a summer of 2011 in Lviv. Right in front of me was one of the narrow streets of Lviv’s old town called ‘Staroevreiska’, literally ‘Old Jewish street’. On my table there was a menu, all covered with the names of Jewish dishes, famous Jewish personalities of Galicia and images of rabbis and various orthodox attributes. On my left there was an empty space, seemingly left after a recently demolished building. It looked like something was still standing there a week ago and construction works were all about to start. In reality, the place didn’t change since 1939, when the Golden Rose synagogue was destroyed. However, there was one thing which I guessed – the construction of the new hotel was indeed planned there (luckily, the plan was rejected in a couple of months).
It is, unfortunately, quite obvious that together with the destruction of the Golden Rose the Jewish Lviv was destroyed forever. Couple of dozens of Jews populating Lviv today have settled there after the war. This dream of piece and harmony between Galician Ukrainians and Galician Jews is barely impossible – due to the absence of one of the parts. But what is even more frightening – the whole international Lviv, so lovely described in the pub’s introduction letter doesn’t exist anymore. Poles, Jews, Germans, Austrians, Hungarians, Armenians, Gypsies, Greeks and Tatars – all were forced to escape the city either by the Nazis, or by the Soviets. The only major international place of the city became the pub I was sitting in – a weird place where Ukrainians wear costumes of the old-times Jews, trying to copy the Jewish accent and are bargaining about the meal prices – they are not stated in the menu. It is not a Jewish restaurant – Jews visiting the city tend to avoid it, accusing it of being an antisemitic mockery. I myself would definitely recommend it – the place offers great food and drinks and quite extraordinary-designed premises. It is a part of the whole chain of restaurants, visualizing different sides of the old Lviv – ranging from Ukrainian Liberation Army shelter to the restaurant of Leopold von Masoch, the founder of sado-maso born in Lviv. Each of the places are great tourist attractions – only if the tourist is open-minded enough to play the game together with the waiters and the staff, playing shtetl Jews, Ukrainian partisans or even sado-masochists. It’s all definitely worth trying out. But Ukrainians disguised as Jews entertaining Ukrainian visitors on the ruins of the synagogue still remains one of the saddest things one can see in Lviv.
August 6, 2012 | 12:27 pm
Posted Ian Shulman
The Jewish Vienna used to be (and probably still remains) a diverse and immense world. Even though brothers should sit together, as the song ‘shevet yachim hamyaha’ suggests, the district I tried to portrait in the article ‘Brooklyn’s only true sister’ was certainly not able to accommodate all the brothers. The richer brothers were always striving to escape the ghetto and become a part of the Austrian nobility. Viennese high society was based in the district of Döbling, located at the foot of the Wienerwald mountains and thus being even geographically higher then the rest of the city.
Döbling was a range of small villages and picturesque hills until becoming a part of the city in the 19th century. While a lower part of Döbling became quite an average Viennese residential quarter, it’s higher areas was transformed in a cottage district, filled with summer houses, villas and mansions of Austrian higher class. Actually the first summer residence in the district was built still in the 18th century for the Habsburg family. The monarchs stayed there for one night and then completely forgot about their relatively compact estate.
Being a residence of wealthy people, some of which coincidentally happened to be Jewish, Döbling was rarely regarded as a part of Viennese Jewish heritage. However, it was always deeply rooted in the city’s Jewish life and became an even more important part of it today. Starting from 2003, the former premises of the Habsburg mansion and surrounding buildings are settled by the Jewish business students of the newly founded Lauder Business School. Coincidentally, in the early 20th century the buildings served as a mental hospital, where famous Jewish psychologists Viktor Frankl used to work. Along with Frankl, dozens of famous Jewish names can be found behind the walls. Behind the gloomy walls of the working class Lower Döbling a closed Jewish cementry can be found, where Theodor Herzl used to be buried until 1948, when his body was transported and reburied in Israel. Behind the impressive fences of the cottage district mansions one finds a former residence of Austria’s legendary Jewish prime minister Bruno Kreisky or one of the houses of Russian magnate Roman Abramovich. Leon Trotsky used to reside nearby as well.
There is still so much more to be found. Many of Döbling residents have their own Jewish legends, Jewish rumors or even Jewish roots. Some of them was carefully collected by Lauder Business Schools students and published on the school’s synagogue website: www.Synagogedoebling.at/jewish-doebling. The source contains a variety of fascinating stories behind the personalities and the places of the district and is not only a surprising and informative, but also a highly entertaining reading.
August 6, 2012 | 12:09 pm
Posted Ian Shulman
Sister cities or twin cities is an extremely fascinating, but almost meaningless puzzle. Indeed, there are cities with almost sisterly relations, tightly connected through history, names, personalities and legends. But ‘sister cities’ are essentially pairs of cities, connected through partnerships, which aim to promote cultural and commercial ties between them. And even though the real, implied tie between sister cities may often look like a hidden key, most probably there is nothing there to be found except for a bunch of signed agreements between two truly random town halls.
In any case, it’s probably impossible to put each and every city into a family relation. There must be some ‘only child’ cities. For example, who can be a sister of New York City? The metropolis is too diverse to be paired with something both in official and imaginary sense. Even its districts are consisting of different neighborhoods, each resembling a different town, if not a different country. However, both NYC and its districts of NYC do have sister cities and districts. I couldn’t resist searching for a true sisterhood among these bureaucratic agreements, and I succeeded – Brooklyn, the heart of American Jewish life, appeared to be paired with Israeli Kfar Chabad and Viennese district of Leopoldstadt. In other words – with Israeli affiliate of Chabad movement and the only reborn Jewish district in Central Europe.
Other four partners of Brooklyn – Anzio in Italy, Gdynia in Poland, Besiktas in Turkey and Lambeth Borough of Greater London – are most probably merely typical partner cities. Kfar Chabad has a special kind of partnership – Brooklyn’s neighborhood Crown Heights is today’s center of the world Chabad Movement, which actually founded Kfar Chabad (literally meaning ‘Chabad Village’) and placed a copy of 770 Eastern Parkway building (the Chabad headquarters in Crown Heights) there. But in case of Leopoldstadt, the sisterhood is especially meaningful, honorary and deserved.
Mazzesinsel / Island of Matzos
Once being a suburban Jewish ghetto, Leopoldstadt has transformed into a vibrant international district and a true center of Central European Jewish life by the end of the 19th century. Being separated by the Danube from the north and by the Danube channel from the south, the area was nicknamed ‘Mazzesinsel’, which means ‘Matzo island’. Located in some 10 minutes walk from Stephansplatz, Vienna’s main square, the Jewish island together with the whole northern bank of the Danube channel was remaining a true ‘Ausland’, a foreign country for a lot of people in Vienna. The reason for this prejudice was not only a significant Jewish population of the area, but also the Nordbahnhof, the North Railway Station located there, through which thousand of emigrants from the Eastern parts of the empire were arriving to Vienna and settling in the district. Back then, the Danube was forming a natural border of both Leopoldstadt and the city of Vienna, and once you cross it, just some 80 km of rural area were dividing you from the borders with Czech Republic and Slovakia. Numerous of beautiful synagogues and yeshivas, Arnold Schöneberg, Sigmund Freud, Viktor Frankl, Arthur Schnitzler, Theodor Hertzl and Billy Wilder – it used to be the beautiful Leopoldstadt, the global Leopoldstadt, the fascinating Leopoldstadt before the 1939.
Flakturmsinsel / Island of Flakturms
Flakturms are probably the only distinctive thing the district gained after the occupation of 1939. Two gross and ugly concrete towers, which were meant to defend the city from the ally aviation, were erected during the war in the Leopoldstadt’s park Augarten, which was once used by Habsburgs for horse promenades and other outdoor leisure activities. The towers are still there today, casting shadows over a kosher shop and a yeshiva. The name ‘Island of Matzos’ is used today as well, after almost 50 years of concrete dullness.
Einwanderungsinsel / Island of Emigration
The first Jewish emigrants have returned to Leopoldstadt right after the end of World War II, having fled to Eastern Europe before the war and now fleeing back from the Communistic regime there. They were later accompanied by those who managed to escape Hungary after the Soviet tanks have entered the country in 1956 and Czechoslovakia after the same happened there in 1968. In the 1970s, Vienna has become a hub for emigrants from Soviet union, heading to Israel or Western Europe. Many of them decided to stay in the city for good. Still, the Jewish community of Vienna was remaining rather small. The situation has changed in the early 1990s, when the Jewish emigrants from the former Soviet Union, many coming from Caucasus or Asia and having Jewish Georgian or Bukhari origin, have moved to Vienna and stayed in Leopoldstadt.
Globalisierungsinsel / Island of Globalisation
Today’s Leopoldstadt is connected to other parts of the city by U1 and U2 underground lines, hosts a regional railroad hub Praterstern, a huge 200-year-old Prater park with immense outdoor facilities and the Ernst-Happel-Stadium, where the final game of UEFA 2008 took place. A bunch of synagogues, kosher restaurants, shops and cafes, a Jewish high school, sports center and nursing home are there as well. New emigrants, many of which are Jewish, keep on settling in the area. Leopoldstadt is slowly becoming a somewhat stylish, fancy and extraordinary working-class neighborhood, better then it was 30 years ago and different from what it was 100 years ago. It’s once again not unusual to hear ‘Shabbat Shalom’ while walking down the Taborstrasse, the central street of the district, on Friday night. And last but not least – the name ‘Mazzesinsel’ is in use again.
August 6, 2012 | 12:05 pm
Posted Michał Zajda
Every self-respecting football fan knows perfectly which team is the oldest one, however not everyone knows its history. Cracovia has been renowned for its openness and tolerance, especially towards the Jews who gave foundations to the club and provided many activists and football players. The history of Cracovia consists of rises and falls. As a generally academic and Jewish team, it had its greatest sports achievements before the war. After the war had ended, it was brutally marginalised by the communist authorities. Despite their persecutions, the “Stripes” was a brand still acknowledged in the whole Poland and many people identified themselves with them.
We will probably never find out who published the announcement in the most popular Krakow newspaper. Nowa Reforma [New Reform] in issue No. 132 of 13 June 1906 announced: “An academic footballers’ club (football play) is being established in Krakow. The football exercises start on Wednesday, 13th day of the current month. All persons willing to belong to the club are asked to come to Dr. Jordan Park on Wednesday at 6.00 p.m. in front of the pavilion.” The persons who must have come were the students of the Jagiellonian University, called at that time “the academics”, Franciszek Boczarski and Bernard Miller (law), Rajmund Szolz and Stanisław Wójtowicz (philosophy) as they played in the first matches, results of which were published in the Krakow press. Possibly, there were also “the students”, as the pupils of gymnasiums, especially the King Jan Sobieski Gymnasium, were called - Adolf Holoubek, Mieczysław Pollak and Józef Lustgarten.
The 1930s was a time of increasing fascism in Europe. Hitler’s order found recognition in many countries. Also in Poland the activity of national democratic environments, aimed especially at the Jews, increased.
One of the first demands was introduction of the numerus unus rule at the Polish universities, i.e. introducing a limit of Jewish students. The Jagiellonian University, introduced numerus unus in the academic year of 1937/38 to all faculties. The limit for Jews amounted to 10% of places. The authority forced also economic boycott of Jewish salesmen, and in several cities it even rose to pogroms. In such atmosphere of violence, opposing the fascist armed squads required real courage. In the football world they postulated numerus nullus, that is a total access prohibition for the Jews. Such regulation was introduced by some sport clubs. The statutes of Wisła Kraków banned non-Poles from membership. On the break of 1937 and 1938, Warta Poznań brought a request of introducing the Aryan paragraph excluding from the Polish Football Association all non-Catholic clubs, referees and players. It was supported by Wisła Kraków and AKS Chorzów. Cracovia, backed up by Pogoń Lviv and ŁKS Łódź, stood up for the right of the Jews and other ethnic minorities. The anti-Semitic regulations were not adopted due to objections of the governmental authorities. They League authorities, however, were in favour of them. The disobedient clubs were under constant pressure. Cracovia did not submit to these rules and this is where their problems with the referees came from. In the 1938 season, the referees whistled constantly against Cracovia and allowed brutal game against its players, whereas the Stripes, when being fouled with impunity and meted out justice for themselves, were disqualified immediately. The most peculiar moment of that campaign was, however, annulment of a home match won by Cracovia over Polonia, after the referee had published self-criticism in a newspaper. The match was ordered to be replayed - that was the only case in the history of the Polish football. Cracovia lost the replay and instead of third place, it came seventh.
The name played surely a crucial role. Besides, Cracovia, from its very beginnings, was an open and democratic club. The designers of the club’s badge - a flag with four white and three red longitudinal stripes - which has been used in an unchanged form since 1908, was the “international” trio: Englishman William Calder, Jew Józef Lustgarten and Pole Wacław Wojakowski. Three nationalities, three religions… Cracovia’s players featured the Englishman Calder, the Austrian Singer, the Czech Just, the Hungarian Obert, just to mention only the most important names. The champions’ team in 1921 was made of a strange conglomeration of people - beginning with an owner of a vast estate (Stefan Popiel), through a medicine student (Stanisław Cikowski), a Jagiellonian University philology graduate (Tadeusz Synowiec), a car mechanic (Bolesław Kotapka), a teacher (Józef Kałuża), a bank clerk (Leon Sperling), ending with a house painter (Edward Strycharz). Cracovia never posed racial or religious barriers.
The history and tradition of Cracovia may become a model of cosmopolitanism and openness which are characteristic for Krakow. The Poles are still fond of the club which embodies everything that was beautiful and valuable in the pre-war Poland. Many unique people sympathised and sympathise with Cracovia, among them: John Paul II, Norman Davies, Mieczysław Fogg, Walery Goetel, Jerzy Harasymowicz, Gustaw Holoubek, Nigel Kennedy, Jerzy Pilch, Józef Piłsudski and Kazimierz Wyka. The popular “Stripes”, as Cracovia is usually called, can and even should become the flagship of the reviving Jewish sport in Poland.
July 25, 2012 | 1:14 pm
Posted Gábor Sárosi
The main suspect of last week’s terrorist attack in Bulgaria had a quite big file of involvement in activities of different terrorist groups. He was held for 2 years in Guantanamo, but - being a Swedish citizen - he was sent back to Sweden, where charges were not pressed against him. The Swedish authorities probably didn’t find him dangerous enough to keep him in jail or custody in order to protect innocent people from him. The result of this decision is seven dead and several injured people, whose only sin was going on a vacation by the Black Sea, or being a busdriver. I am sure, the Swedish authorities were trying to make a responsible decision, and avoid the conviction of someone who has probably not killed anyone yet. The freedom of the individual (liberal value) gained priority over the security of the community (conservative value).
In the beginning/middle of the last decade, when the second Intifada reached its peak, Israel has built a system of fences and walls in order to prevent Palestinian terrorists from getting into Israeli cities. Some might say it is only a coincidence, but as the fence was built up, the number of terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens dropped radically, leading to the end of the daily violence, thus saving many lives on both sides. On the other hand, tough security measures hardened the freedom of movement for many Palestinians, including the peaceful ones. The security of the community gained priority over the freedom of the individual.
Sweden is glorified in the World as one of the leading countries in human rights and freedom.
Israel is criticized in the World as being an oppressor and using “excessive force”.
The 13th century Jewish polyhistor, Maimonides teaches, that one of the most important principle is to walk the golden middle way. The Hebrew word “Emet” means truth, but it also means balance. It consists three Hebrew letters: aleph (the first one in the alphabet), mem (the 12th one in the middle), and tav (the 22th or last one). The two extremes on the sides, but in the center, the golden middle one. Truth = Balance.
If we lose balance we’ll eventually fall
3000 years ago in the Middle East slavery was common. In Babylon slaves had no rights, they had to work all the time, the law didn’t secure their life, rather entitled their masters to kill them if they didn’t need them anymore. Same in Egypt. There was only one nation which recognized the basic rights of the slaves: Israel. The Torah prohibits the masters to kill their slaves, who even received a day of rest every week! In those times and place the Torah represented unbelivable social rights and liberalism.
Nowadays, the leading media and organisations in the World judge countries and societies based on how “Western”, how liberal they are.
In the Western cultures less and less children are born, but proportionaly more and more of them are born to single mothers. Besides many useful sources, all kinds of unhealthy material is easily accessible to children. Even though, freedom of speech in most countries doesn’t apply on incitement and racism, it is nearly impossible to enforce those prohibitions. In fact, Western societies idolize individual freedom even when it poses a great danger to society.
Judaism refers to the Jewish people as light for the nations. Jews should be the examples of living by truth, in the right balance (unfortunately we sometimes fail to succeed in this). When it is normal in the World to treat certain people as objects or working machines, we should show, that every human being deserves the basic human rights! Similarly, when the World has gone too far in worshipping individual freedom, we should show that the golden middle way for the community is a bit (but not too much) back towards the conservative side.
This post is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Burgas terrorist attack:
Maor Harush (24) Acre, Israel
Itzik Kolangi (28) Petah Tikva, Israel
Mustafa Kyosov (36) Yurokovo, Bulgaria (bus driver)
Amir Menashe (28) Petach Tikva. Israel
Elior Preiss (25) Acre, Israel
Kochava Shriki (42) Rishon LeZion, Israel (pregnant)
May them be the last ones who had to die due to the lack of Emet in the World.
July 25, 2012 | 1:11 pm
Posted Gábor Sárosi
Can God create a stone too heavy for him to lift up?
This is the famous “omnipotence paradox”. If the answer is yes, He can, then His weightlifting-power is limited, if the answer is no, He can’t, than His creating-power is limited. Either way, God is not omnipotent.
There are a few proposed answers from big thinkers. (just type “omnipotence paradox” in google, or wikipedia)
I would like to suggest the following answer:
The answer for this question is not yes or no. The answer is: it is a wrong question. Why?
Let’s see first, how infinite works in mathematics (don’t worry, it is not difficult maths, just a little logic). Infinite is not an exact number. If you add one to infinite, what is the result? Infinite. So, the second infinite is bigger than the first one, since we added one to it. The same way, if we subtract one from infinite, we get infinite. In this case the second infinite is smaller than the first one.
The same, using mathematical signs:
∞ + 1 = ∞
∞ - 1 = ∞
if these are true, than:
You can’t really add/subtract a number to/from infinite. You will always get the same number, then the number which you added/subtracted doesn’t exist. Let me demonstrate it with a very simple equation:
∞ + 1 = ∞ / - ∞
1 = 0
(or 1 = ∞)
But this is not true: 1 is not 0, neither infinite. One is one.
Therefore we can’t use our known mathematical operations with infinite, because - as we’ve just seen - they will terminate in a false result. This happens with summation, subtraction, multiplication, division, and all the other known operations. We can’t even use the smaller/bigger signs. Why is it so? Because all these mathematical operations are for the finite World. For real numbers, which are all finite. When we use infinite, all the finite operations and relation marks fail.
Now, let’s go back to the “omnipotent paradox”. Can God create a stone, which He cannot lift up? Let God’s creating-power be “C”, and his lifting-power “L”. We assume, that both L and C are infinite (that is why the whole question is asked). The question is: which is bigger, L or C ? which of these statements is true?
< L now the answer is: He can't, so He is not omnipotent, because His creation-power is limited.
L now the answer is: He can, so He is not omnipotent, because His lifting-power is limited.
C = L now the answer is again He can’t, so He is not omnipotent, because His creating-power is limited.
But we’ve seen above, that we can’t say C
L, neither C = L, because both C and L are infinite, and relation marks don’t work in the World of infinite.
Therefore the answer for the original question is:
The question is wrong, because it has a false assumption, that relation marks can be used in the World of infinite.
July 25, 2012 | 12:48 pm
Posted Michał Zajda
SS-Hauptsturmführer, SS No. – 43673.
Amon Leopold Goeth, like many Nazi criminals, was born in Vienna, on December 11,1908. Before the war he was a modest clerk, with a passion for literature. He was a ticking time bomb. Unfulfilled murderers, domestic sadists – nice and likeable on the surface, of whom a neighbour, upon hearing that by noon they killed half a kindergarten, would say “impossible, he was such a nice and well-mannered man”.
Such people grow in strength during a war. Their second self, or maybe even their whole self, can shoot at helpless people in the glory of law and patriotism. Degenerated rascal and scoundrel, death-man! He dealt punishment out by himself. He beat and encouraged beating. He set dogs on people. He tormented anything that was alive, just another Goethe lover! If he wasn’t hung in Poland, the German justice administration would have leaned over his heavy war experience and discontinued the case due to lack of sufficient evidence of guilt.
The day of February 13th, 1942 engraved with blood in the annuals of the Krakow history. It was then that Amon Goeth became the commandant of the camp. Previously, he was an administration officer controlling the death camps in Bełżec, Sobibor and Treblinka. He was authorised in person, which was a rare thing, by another “great Austrian” – Odilo Globocnik. The head of “Reinhard operation”, the man responsible for murdering millions of people. It should be stated that the new function was absolutely a promotion for Goeth who was to make use of the experience gained in the death camps for reinforcing the one thousand years old Reich. Goeth, as the commandant of the Płaszów camp, was the superior of all other minor camps, the so called Arbeitskommandos, located in Krakow. Just as on the previous post with Globocnik, Goeth had the right to enter every camp, which he often did. He participated actively in the liquidation of the ghettos in Krakow, Rzeszów and Przemyśl, and the liquidation of the Tarnów ghetto was controlled by him personally. He had enormous power and prestige among criminals like him who described the Płaszów camp as “Lager Goeth”. Goeth also had his private camp jail – leaving barely anyone alive. The death sentences were usually performed by the Jewish Ghetto Police but the Commandant very often could not deny himself the pleasure of killing and often reached for the gun, becoming a passionate and loyal arm of the Nazi justice.
Amon Goeth, however, was not a Nazi philanthropist blindly following his principal Heinrich Himmler. He liked gold and money. The valuables taken from the prisoners were stored in a camp unit with a catchy name: Effektenkammer. During initial sorting of the robbed jewelery, the first to be awarded were all the kinds of helpers who the Commandant made use of in his criminal business. Next, the more valuable items were presented, surely by mistake and as a result of Jewish conspiracy, to the surprise of anything Goeth. Everything that left was sent to the warehouse of post-Jewish property. From there the valuables and foreign currency were transported to the SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt [SS Main Economic and Administrative Department] in Berlin. The next stage was the Reich’s Treasury and then probably Switzerland or Argentina, where people like Goeth – “those who only obeyed orders” – lived and laughed in the face of what honest people call justice! Goeth, however, by robbing the Jewish prisoners of all earthly goods and appropriating them, robbed at the same time the unbreakable Reich. And that was something they did not tolerate. Many people devoted and similar to him, probably not generously presented by their benefactor, informed the top. He was arrested on September 13th, 1944 and later brought before the SS court. It was then that somebody realized that abusing the prisoners, as well as stealing and misusing the power given with Führer’s grace was not right. He plead guilty!
At the end of the war, Goeth managed to escape from a Nazi prison, or as he claimed, he was released. He got into American hands who immediately gave him away to Poland where on August 27th, 1946 he appeared before the Polish Supreme National Tribunal. The trial revealed the true face of Amon Goeth who wallowed in luxury in the Płaszów camp. He lived in a beautifully equipped villa with a swimming pool in the garden and employed prisoners as servants – mainly women. Heoften threw lavish parties where the “first fiddle” was played by a friend of his – Majola. Goeth fed his dogs with meat earmarked for the prisoners, his beloved dog Rolf arousing fear just like his owner. During his walks, he specialised in various murders. The idea of dying by his hand was enough to not show disrespect to the commandment.
Władysław Kopystecki, a Pole lying curbstones at the camp, testified: “When he [Amon Goeth] came to the camp with his dog, in a white shirt, in high boots, he found her at the back eating a potato. He shot at her head. She fell at the cauldron. Then he called two Jews who worked in the stable and ordered to throw her to the other cauldron with boiling water. [...] The Jews threw her inside, she still lived, and she moved her legs splashing that boiling water. So he ordered to cover her and walked away.” He also murdered children. Once, an incident like this happened: A six-year-old boy, after being dropped from a truck, began to run away. Goeth called then: “Komm, komm, hab keine Angst!” [Come, come, don’t be afraid!] Suddenly, the boy stopped. He took a mirror and some toys out of his pocket, trying maybe subconsciously to avoid death. With a forgiving smile, Goeth took everything from him only to shoot the boy with his own hands.
Once he shot his housemaid. When he returned home, completely drunk, he met her at the stairs and shook hands with her. She, surprised with the gesture, said she was Jewish. When he sobered up the next day and recalled that incident, he called the woman and shot her down. He also shot his batman because he prepared the wrong horse for a ride.
On September 5th, 1946, Amon Goeth heard the sentence: capital punishment, loss of civil rights and honorary civil rights for ever, and confiscation of property. The law of mercy was not used. On September 13th, 1946 the sentence was performed. By hanging.
That was the end of one of the greatest criminals the Earth has ever known. A man devoid of any feelings. A mere bandit lacking ideals who fell into disgrace of people similar to him. He was not even able to hide himself after the war and as we know, many of his fellows managed to do that. Practically, he did not defend in the court, probably realizing that the only thing available for him in Poland, was death.