The Commandant of Auschwitz (Hardback)
Described as one of the greatest mass-murderers in history, Rudolf Höss, was born in Baden-Baden, on the edge of Germany’s Black Forest region, on 11 December 1901. As a child, his aim was to join the priesthood, but in his early youth he became disillusioned with religion and turned instead to the Army.
Höss joined the 21st Regiment of Dragoons, his father’s and grandfather’s old regiment, at the age of just 14. He served with the Ottoman Army in its fight against the British, serving in Palestine and being present at the Siege of Kut-el-Amara. During this period, he was promoted to the rank of Feldwebel, becoming, at that time, the youngest Non-commissioned officer in the German Army. He was also decorated, receiving among other awards the Iron Cross, First and Second class.
In the midst of the political upheavals in post-war Germany, Höss was drawn to the hard-line philosophies of Adolph Hitler, joining the Nazi Party in 1922. His ruthless commitment to the Nazi cause saw him convicted of participating in at least one political assassination, for which he spent six years in prison.
Predictably, Höss joined the SS and in 1934 became a Blockführer, or Block Leader, at Dachau concentration camp. His ruthless dedication led to him becoming the adjutant to the camp commandant at another concentration camp, Sachsenhausen. Then, in May 1940, Höss was given command of his own camp near the town of Auschwitz.
In June 1941, Höss was told that Auschwitz had been selected as the site for the Final Solution of the Jewish question. Höss set about his task with relish, and a determination to kill as many Jews as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Justice caught up with Höss after the German surrender when he was arrested on 11 March 1946, after a year posing as a gardener under a false name. He was found guilty of war crimes and was hanged on 16 April 1947.
Rating: 5 out of 5 starsNetGalley, Brenda Yeager
The author performed a great deal of research before writing this book. He not only included facts from several archives a d resources, be also used Hoss's writings, which enhanced the readability of the narrative because we watch and learn about the inner workings and mindset of a horribly evil person who, to the last minute, swore he was not guilty because he was simply following orders. This is a solid contribution to the historical records about WWII.
Koop does a solid job of not just regurgitating things from the memoirs of Rudolf Höss, and quickly points out that Höss appears to be a habitual liar in pretty much everything he does. Much of the information comes from things such as this material, but using historical records, and conflicting accounts by contemporaries, the portrait of a truly terrible man is painted. Even when everything was lost, and the man faced trial, he claimed to be a normal guy that just did his job and had no idea bad things were happening under his command. Reading some of the atrocities he signed off on, such as throwing children directly into a fire pit while still alive, was infuriating to say the least.NetGalley, Stephen Kelley
This was a tough read, for obvious reasons, but I enjoyed it and learned a lot about, perhaps, one of the biggest monsters in modern history. One would have hoped that he would have stayed in prison much longer than he did when he literally committed a political murder, but alas Hitler needed the most despicable to do his evil deeds. Very good book, if you are curious, or a WWII history buff, I’d check it out.
What an evil creature Höss was. He really has no limits. Koop revealed his entire persona in this novel, and if you were familiar with Rudolf Höss and his propensity for evil before hand, you will be in absolutely no doubt after reading this.NetGalley, Clara Carter
Whilst saying that you enjoyed a book with this kind of subject matter might sound odd, I actually did. I thought the author did a good job of highlighting the important points about Höss and not getting too carried away with unimportant factoids.NetGalley, Ionia Froment
Much of this book is based on the memoirs of Höss himself, and yet it does not read as just another boring example of an author rewriting the words of someone else. Actually, reading this book is far more pleasant (due to the organisation) than reading the original memoirs. The Insight of the author after much time spent researching helps to clarify things for the reader.
I thought this was a fascinating, well-written work with a lot to offer anyone interested in the history of the Nazi movement and the KL System. Recommended to anyone who wants to know more about this subject and to all who are interested in the history of the Twentieth Century's major events and personalities.
Rudolf Hoess, one of the central figures of the Nazi mass murder of Jews, Poles, Russians, Catholics, and other enemies of the Third Reich, wrote his memoirs shortly before he was hanged by the Nuremberg Trials. This book has at no point been sold as a light read, it is heavy, stays in your mind, and discusses an important part of history.NetGalley, Chloe Bateman
I visited Auschwitz a couple of years ago. I read this in an attempt to get some sought insight into Nazi psychology. The book is fascinating but harrowing and it is easy to pretend or not acknowledge the part in history it plays and the fact this is very real. The book contains a lot of detail and it is clear that a lot of research has been done. The book explains how Hoess attempted to downplay his involvement in what happened as well as the power struggles between some of the other SS members. The book discusses poignant parts of Auschwitz such as the deaths, building of the gas chambers, orders carried out, etc. Difficult to read but interesting at the same time.
There is an incredible amount of detail here and a good job is done of showing how someone could become one of the most reviled people in history. The book has documents from Hoss where he tries to downplay his involvement in what happened at the same time as admitting that some atrocities happened describing power struggles between him and fellow SS members. It is chilling that he mentions the building of the gas chambers matter of factly and seems to view what he has done as just following orders. This is fascinating and harrowing.NetGalley, Karl Wardlaw
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