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Inheritance: A Nazi Legacy and the Journey to Change It

Amon Goeth was an SS offer in the German army during World War II who oversaw operations at a concentration camp in Plaszow, Poland. In 1946, Goeth was found guilty of murder of the thousands who were executed at Plaszow by a Polish tribunal, and he was executed for his crimes; he was survived by his wife and young daughter. After Goeth’s death, his wife frequently told her daughter Monika that Goeth was the victim of a tremendous misunderstanding and he was a good and noble man at heart; when Monika began to learn the truth about her father’s crimes, her mother committed suicide and Monika was forced to deal with her family’s dark history on her own. In 2002, almost ten years after Ralph Fiennes delivered a fearsome performance as Amon Goeth in the film Schindler’s List, Monika Herwig published a book in Germany about the memories of her father she grew up with and the truth she had to come to terms with; around the same time, documentary filmmaker James Moll came into contact with Helen Jonas-Rosenzweig, a surviving inmate of the Plaszow camp who worked as a servant in the Goeth family’s quarters. Moll arranged for Monika and Helen to meet at the ground of the Plaszow camp for an interview, and Inheritance documents their conversation as Monika is confronted with her father’s ugly legacy and Helen recalls the horrors she faced and the friends who did not survive. It’s a brutally honest, gut-wrenching, and emotional journey that brings both closure and new questions. DVD. 75 minutes.

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Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Keene State College

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