The Commandant: The Rudolph Hoess text edited by Jurg Amann with an afterword by Ian Buruma
As we remember the sacrifice of our soldiers, we often question the necessity of war. The unsparing true account by Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hoess, in his own words, gives us a stark reminder of the inhumanity that totalitarian regimes can produce.
Hoess was the most efficient concentration camp commander of the Nazi regime. At his trial for war crimes in 1947, he openly admitted that he was responsible for the deaths of over 2 million people. While in prison and waiting for his own execution, Hoess wrote his autobiography to explain to the world that he was not evil or a bloodthirsty beast; that he had a heart.
In this slimmed down and edited version, Amann presents the essence of Hoess. In an eerily detached and objective manner, Hoess gives a brief summary of his earlier life and his earnest desire to fulfill his duties as Commandant to his upmost. Glimpses of the family man are interspersed with details of the technical problems he encounters, as well as his repeated refrains that he was disturbed by aspects of his work.
This terrifying depiction gives an insight into the mind of a war criminal capable of destruction on a devastating scale.
Reviewed by Spot
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The Commandant by Rudolph Hoess, 2012
Rudolph Hoess’ grandson speaks about the guilt that has always been with him since he found out who his grandfather was at age twelve: The Telegraph