Inheritance - the story of Monika Hertwig
#1

Just found out about this new documentary, this morning:

 

http://www.allentownproductions.com/projec...ance/index.html

 

Inheritance is the story of Monika Hertwig, a soft-spoken woman grappling with a profound legacy left to her by a father she never really knew.

 

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, 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.

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#2

Born in 1945 in Bad Toelz, a small village in West Germany, Monika Hertwig grew up never knowing her father. Her father, Amon Goeth, was a former Nazi leader and commandant of the Plazsow Concentration Camp. He was executed when Monika was 1 year old.

 

Though she spent 15 years working as an admissions secretary at the University of Munich, Monika says that today, at the age of 60, her real life’s work has only just begun. Now retired, she lives a quiet life in the quaint countryside of Weissenburg, Germany with Reinhardt Hertwig, her husband of 19 years. Together, they raise their young grandson, David. He is clearly the light in Monika’s life and the reason Monika became an active participant as an advocate towards educating children about the Holocaust.

 

Monika frequently travels in order to further educate herself about the Holocaust. Most recently she traveled to Poland with a group of Israeli students and two survivors from the Auschwitz and Plaszow Concentration Camps. Monika bonded with the group, and though she says the trip was a wonderful experience, she finds it impossible to convey the horror she felt, for behind every small town in Poland, there is a mass grave.

 

At one small town just outside Krakow, the group stopped to see a small, blue memorial stone that marks the death of 800 children killed during the Holocaust. Monika’s father, Amon Goeth, was responsible for the killing of these children. It’s a horror that Monika accepts, yet still can’t comprehend. But facing this history, with such a wonderful and accepting group of young students, was a gift for her.

 

In order to reconcile the past, she feels it is her responsibility and obligation to make certain that future generations are informed about the Holocaust. She continues to educate herself and learn from survivors, so the victims are not forgotten.

 

“This is my work,” she says. “You can’t change the past, but maybe you can do something about the future.”

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#3

Born in April 1925, Helen Jonas spent her youth in Krakow, Poland with her devoted parents and two older sisters. Helen was a teenager as Hitler began his rise to power, and a sense of foreboding blanketed Poland. One day, two armed SS soldiers stormed Helen’s home in the Krakow Jewish Ghetto and dragged her father into the street. Helen never saw him again. Soon after, the Nazis forced Helen, along with her mother and sisters from their home, and interned them to the Plaszow Concentration Camp. At that moment, Helen’s childhood ended.

 

During her third day at Plaszow, Amon Goeth, commandant of the Camp, separated Helen from her mother and sisters and ordered her to work in his villa as his housemaid. Her mother later fell ill and died in the Camp. Each day, for the next two years, Helen lived enslaved; she endured and witnessed incomprehensible horrors, fearing each day would be her last. The one hope in her hell was Oskar Schindler. He rescued Helen and her sisters and brought them to work in his factory in Brunnlitz, Czechoslovakia where they remained until the end of the war.

 

Helen met Joseph Jonas two days after liberation, and they married on August 30, 1946, at a displacement camp in Austria. The following year in December, they came to the United States and settled in the Bronx. Helen and Joseph spent 34 years together, raising their three children: Steven, the eldest, and twin daughters, Vivian and Shelley. As a young mother, Helen attended school, studied electrolysis, and opened a highly successful private practice that she ran for 28 years.

 

Family is the driving force in Helen’s life. Ten years after Joseph’s death, Helen married Henry Rosenzweig on July 9, 1990. Helen cherishes the close relationship she maintains with her children. A proud grandparent, Helen adores her four grandchildren and delights in the time she spends with them.

 

Much of Helen’s time is dedicated to several charities and organizations that help Israeli families. A member of the National Council of Jewish Women, a renowned volunteer organization, Helen serves as chairwoman for the Yad B’Yad Program (Hand-in-Hand with Israel Program). The program supports families in need by providing a wealth of services such as new computers for schools, playgrounds for pre-school centers, programs for single mothers, and assistance to victims of domestic violence. Helen and Henry also helped fund the construction of a new home for developmentally disabled women through the Akim Organization in Israel. The live-in home, donated in Helen and Henry’s name, provides therapy, social work and education for the residents. Helen and Henry attended the dedication in Rahavot, Israel. She is also heavily involved with Belt Halochem, a rehabilitation facility for Israeli soldiers and veterans.

 

Helen feels a deep responsibility to speak out about her history and spends the majority of her time educating students about the Holocaust. She has been interviewed a number of times, in several countries. She continues to speak at various colleges, high schools, and Jewish Federations, as she has done for so many years, sharing her experiences in hopes of promoting tolerance and acceptance, and eradicating hate.

Marion J Chard
Proud Daughter of Walter (Monday) Poniedzialek
540th Engineer Combat Regiment, 2833rd Bn, H&S Co, 4th Platoon
There's "No Bridge Too Far"
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#4

Facinating story. You don't hear about the children of the NAZI's much, such as the Lebensborn children.

Maj Todd O. USMC, Retired
Grandson of LTC John O'Brien
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