Archive for the ‘mercilessness’ Category

Amon Goeth’s mercilessness

January 4, 2013

A sixteen-year-old boy named Haubenstock was…to be hanged…he had been heard singing “Volga, Volga,” “Kalinka Maya,” and other banned Russian songs with the intention, according to his death sentence, of winning the Ukrainian guards over to Bolshevism.

The rules for the rite of execution inside Plaszow involved silence. Unlike the festive hangings of earlier times, the drop was performed in utter stillness. The prisoners stood in phalanxes, and were patrolled by men and women who knew the extent of their power…under such supervision, the pleadings of the condemned were heard in silence…

The boy…was vocal. In an uneven voice he reasoned with the Hauptsturmfuhrer, who stood beside the scaffold. “I am not a Communist, Herr Commandant. I hate Communism. They were just songs. Ordinary songs.” The hangman, a Jewish butcher of Cracow, pardoned for some earlier crime on condition that he undertake this work, stood Haubenstock on a stool and placed the noose around his neck. He could tell Amon wanted the boy hanged first, didn’t want the debate to drag on. When the butcher kicked the support out from beneath Haubenstock, the rope broke, and the boy, purple and
gagging, noose around his neck, crawled on his hands and knees to Goeth, continuing his pleadings, ramming his head against the Commandant’s ankles and hugging his legs. It was the most extreme submission; it conferred on Goeth again the kingship he’d been exercising these fevered months past. Amon, in an Appellplatz of gaping mouths uttering no sound but a low hiss, a susurrus like a wind in sand dunes, took his pistol from his holster, kicked the boy away, and shot him through the head.

Thomas Keneally, Schindler’s Ark, p 237-8