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Monika's father was Amon Goeth.
Often described as a monster and inhuman, Amon Goeth was the prominent Nazi leader and commandant of the Plaszow Concentration Camp. Utterly ruthless and sadistic, he murdered thousands of Jews and others during the war.
When Schindler's List opened in 1993, Monika watched Ralph Fiennes' chilling portrayal of Amon Goeth. She found this depiction of her father so disturbing that she left the theater more than once.
The fact that this man was her father is a brutal reality that Monika didn't know anything about until her teen years. It is a fact that Monika still cannot reconcile. Feeling an aching need to come to terms with this legacy of evil, Monika reaches out to Helen Jonas-Rosenzweig, a survivor of the Holocaust. Helen lived enslaved under Goeth's roof, serving as both his maid and prey for nearly two years.
Sixty years after Amon Goeth's arrest and the liberation of Plaszow, Monika and Helen meet for the first time at what was once Goeth's luxurious villa overlooking the concentration camp. It s a brutally honest, gut-wrenching and emotional meeting that brings both closure and new questions for these women.
Top Customer Reviews
Oddly, Monika comes off as the more sympathetic of the two women. Her emotions are raw, unhealed and close to the surface. Helen has lived for years with the effects of the cruelty experienced and witnessed at the camp, and her story is smoother for frequent repetition. Both women clearly are victims, and both bear the scars and shame of the past. I felt viscerally how passing through the Holocaust changed lives forever, despite the passage of decades. And I saw how the evil of the fathers is visited on future generations.
The film is generally easy to watch, with many Goth family photos interspersed with photos of Jews being herded onto tricks or marched off to work. An exception is a graphic filmed execution, which though bloodless, is affecting. Such such footage is rarely seen on sanitized American television.
The subtext of "Inheritance" is a meditation on the question of evil. How could the serene and sensitive Monika have been sired by one of the twentieth century's more brutal villains? Her story shows that biology need NOT be destiny. What remains unanswered at the end of the documentary is the question of how Goth's soul became so twisted. Fans of the movie will be interested to see how well Steven Spielberg rendered the Goth villa, Schindler's factory and other landmarks.
Now in her 60's, Monika Hertwig has struggled a lifetime with what she learned at age 11 -- that her father, Amon Goeth, had not been killed in World War II like other soldiers, but was hanged as a war criminal when she was a baby. Over the years, she forced herself to learn more about Amon, but when Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List" came out in 1993, Monika became sick with the truth.
Helen Jones was 15 years old when she arrived with other Jews at the Plaszow Camp in Poland, which was both a work camp and a death camp. She was singled out by Amon Goeth to live in his house as a servant. Decades after the Holocaust, Helen's appearance in a German television documentary captured Monika's attention, and the two women arranged to meet at the Plaszow concentration camp memorial to the thousands who died there.
Director James Moll ("The Last Days") tells a fascinating story of the effect of the Holocaust on two individuals decades later. We see Monika's compulsion to learn more about her father, a man she had never known, and the pain with which she learns the extent of her father's crimes. The documentary also shows the power of film to move people. It was Ralph Fiennes' chilling portrayal of Amon Goeth in the Spielberg film that motivated Goeth's daughter to come to terms with the kind of man her father was.
Susanna was looking for someone to take blame, and she found it in Monika, who was looking for someone to blame her. A match made in heaven. Susanna has the whole world empathizing, sympathizing. Was it horrific? Of course. It was worse than unspeakable. But she has a form of comfort in her victimhood that Monika does not have. And Monika is a victim, too, because--and I can't overstate this--she didn't do anything. She doesn't need forgiveness. She was not a perpetrator. And despite everyone's insistence to the contrary, she is being treated like one, but she opened the door to this by offering herself up as a sacrificial lamb to Susanna, who got to spit, if not on THE perpetrator, on someone who looked just like him. In the scene where Susanna tears her a new one for saying what she had been told as a child, I did not see someone who actually believed it. I saw a person offering up the only, albeit feeble, explanation for her denial. I saw someone who was regressing to the person she was when she was told that stuff--a child--and was simply offering up an explanation as to why she had taken a lifetime to come to terms with the horror her father was.Read more ›
Monika Hertwig was Amon Goeth's daughter and only child, though she never knew her father since she was born just before he was hanged. Despite this relative unfamiliarity with her own father, Hertwig is very much affected by his actions, carrying the burden of guilt all these years. Her most intense impression of him is Ralph Fiennes' portrayal of Amon in the movie "Schindler's List." When Hertwig sees an interview with Helen Jonas on television, a Jewish woman and former Plaszow inmate who had been a slave worker in Amon Goeth's household during the war, she decides to meet her to get a better understanding of who her father really was.
The documentary shows viewers these two women's journey - Hertwig from Germany and Jonas from New Jersey to the site of the Plaszow camp. Their meeting is poignant for all the raw emotions it stirs up in both women. Helen Jonas' anger and sorrow at what was done to her and other innocents is evident, but she also shows compassion towards Monika Hertwig who ironically appears to be the more vulnerable of the two, a rather bewildered expression on her face as she listens to Jonas' recounting the events of the past.
Both women are ultimately victims of a ruthless and merciless man, though they have been affected in different ways. Monika Hertwig is the daughter who struggles to understand what kind of man her father was and why he did what he did, carrying the burden of her father's sins.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting documentary on Holocaust. Drags in some areas but informs on the topic effectively.Published 1 month ago by B. Knapp
This is a very touching film. I have shown it to so many people and everyone finds it very sad but interesting.Published 3 months ago by Braga
"Inheritance" is brutally honest, compelling documentary that cannot be viewed with indifference. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Fr. Joseph Marquis
This is a very interesting documentary but tragic and sad. It highlights how such a horrific man and movement can continue to impact subsequent generations.Published 6 months ago by Gigi
Not a film for everybody for sure but intense drama for those who care to get up close and personal with the HolocostPublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer