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Hanns and Rudolf: The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Mai 2014

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  • Taschenbuch: 384 Seiten
  • Verlag: Windmill Books (1. Mai 2014)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0099559056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099559054
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,9 x 2,8 x 19,8 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 63.844 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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"Thomas Harding has shed intriguing new light on the strange poison of Nazism, and one of its most lethal practitioners... Meticulously researched and deeply felt." (Ben Macintyre The Times, Book of the Week)

"Fascinating and moving...This is a remarkable book, which deserves a wide readership." (Max Hastings The Sunday Times)

"A gripping thriller, an unspeakable crime, an essential history." (John Le Carré)

"This is a stunning book...both chilling and deeply disturbing. It is also an utterly compelling and exhilarating account of one man's extraordinary hunt for the Kommandant of the most notorious death camp of all, Auschwitz-Birkenau." (James Holland)

"Only at his great uncle's funeral in 2006 did Thomas Harding discover that Hanns Alexander, whose Jewish family fled to Britain from Nazi Germany in the 1930s, hunted down and captured Rudolf Höss, the ruthless commandant of Auschwitz, at the end of World War Two. By tracing the lives of these two men in parallel until their dramatic convergence in 1946, Harding puts the monstrous evil of the Final Solution in two specific but very different human contexts. The result is a compelling book full of unexpected revelations and insights, an authentic addition to our knowledge and understanding of this dark chapter in European history. No-one who starts reading it can fail to go on to the end." (David Lodge)



The extraordinary true story of the Jewish investigator who pursued and captured one of Nazi Germany's most notorious war criminals.

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Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
I read many books about The Holocaust in every one is a different angel of the story.
The personal approach of Mr. Harding is bringing us closer to the event.
Helping to understand and realize the people behind the events.
The second generation"s writing helps me to get closer to the people behind.
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Amazon.com: 134 Rezensionen
48 von 52 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Hanns and Rudolf 25. August 2013
Von S Riaz - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
The author of this absorbing book was surprised to discover, at his great-uncle's funeral, that his relative was the man who tracked down war criminal Rudolf Hoss. In this engaging work, he tells the story of two men's lives in an honest and sympathetic manner. Harding parallels their biographies - Rudolf Hoss, born in 1901 in Baden-Baden, whose father had decided he would join the priesthood, but who joined the army to fight in WWI at the age of fourteen and who was a Commander at just sixteen years old; an odd mix of family man and committed National Socialist. Hanns Alexander, meanwhile, was born in 1933 to a rich and influential family, his father, an eminant doctor, was initially reluctant to even consider leaving Germany until the danger became too great. Luckily, Dr Alexander was visiting his married daughter in London when it became evident that he was to be arrested and the family managed to finally meet up again in England. When war broke out, both Hanns and his twin brother Paul were determined to enlist.

This work takes us through the war years, where Hoss recalled how Himmler gave him personal orders to Auschwitz to become, "a site of mass annihilation." Zyklon B provided a cheap and quick method of killing hundreds of people at a time. Later, Hoss chillingly recalled how solving the problem of the mechanism for mass murder meant that, "now my mind was at ease." As the war neared its end, the Allies created a database of alleged war criminals and the Commandant of Auschwitz was high on that list. However, the British war crimes response was not seen as of major importance until British troops entered Belsen. Hanns Alexander was chosen for the first ever war crimes investigation team, first as an interpreter and later as a war crimes investigator. When Hanns arrived at Belsen his shock, rage and purpose was palpable - he knew that what happened in the concentration camps could easily have happened to him had he stayed in Germany. Hanns vowed to hunt down missing war criminals, especially Kommandant Hoss. How Hoss was tracked down and what happened to him at the close of the war is unveiled, often reading more like a thriller than a factual account.

The author has really managed to write a book which is immensely readable, interesting and sympathetic to all the people he writes about; which, frankly, is more than Hoss deserves. His complete inability to realise what he was accountable for is truly shocking; his crimes almost defy belief. This, however, is an important book - it is a thrilling story of justice and the search for a man trying to evade capture, an account of how people forced to leave their country started again and the biography of two very different men. It is Rudolf Hoss's normality which shocks you when you consider even a small number of the crimes he perpetuated. It is Hanns Alexander's normality which shows you how resourceful and brave people can be when their cause is just. An excellent book and highly recommended.
12 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Riveting 12. September 2013
Von rootmeansquared - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
I could not put this book down. The research was very through and the writing is superb. It is the story of the German Jew who tracked down and caught Rudolf Hoss, the Commandant of Auschwitz. It is also the story of Rudolf Hoss and how he became who he was.
21 von 27 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Yin and Yang... 5. September 2013
Von Jill Meyer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Nazi and Jew. Jew and Nazi. Can you imagine two more disparate people? In his book, British author Thomas Harding writes about Hanns Alexander, a German Jew who emigrated to England in the mid-1930's with almost his entire family, and Rudolf Hoss, a German Nazi who was the commandant of Auschwitz and self-confessed murderer of 2 million people. Could two men - in and of the world at the same time - be more different? In "Hanns and Rudolf", Harding, great-nephew of Hanns Alexander, tells the story of the two and how one man helped decide the fate of the other after that other man had decided the fates of millions.

"Hanns and Rudolf" is a double biography of those two men. Hanns was the son of German-Jewish parents. His father was a well-respected doctor and the Alexander family - with two older daughters and twin sons, Hanns and Paul - lived a good life in Berlin. During the 1930's, the family realised the Nazi governments restrictions on German Jews were not going to lessen and there was no future in Germany for the family. They were all able to emigrate to England, where the father reestablished his medical practice. The boys joined the British Army in a special unit made up of former German Jews who had emigrated. Hanns became a translator after the war for the British army's war-crimes division and was one of those officials tracking down Nazi war criminals. It was in this capacity that he captured Rudolf Hoss and brought him to justice.

Rudolf Hoss was the son of staunchly Catholic parents. He lied about his age in 1915 and joined the German army in the WW1. He served honorably but was one of the many "disconnected" Germans after the war and into the 1920s, searching for a direction in life. He discovered Adolf Hitler's Nazi party and was an early member. He rose up the party ranks and was eventually put in charge of directing concentration camps. He reached the height of his career when he was given the task of building up Auschwitz from the small camp in occupied Poland to the killing center it became with the additions of gas chambers and crematoriums to make more efficient the mass murder of millions. He and his wife and their five children lived in a villa on the grounds of the camp. After the war, the family fled to the British sector of divided Germany and Rudolf went into hiding. He was eventually tracked down by Hanns Alexander and testified at the Nuremberg Trials against other high-ranking Nazis. Then he stood trial in a Polish court where he was sentenced to death and was hanged in Auschwitz in 1947.

Thomas Harding's well-written book contrasts the lives - and deaths - of these two men. Hoss was hanged, a dishonorable life ending in noose. Alexander lived a life of honor in London after the war, dying at age of 90, with his wife and two daughters with him near the end. Could lives of yin and yang end any other way?
12 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Can't Get This Book Out of My Mind. Superb. Exceptional. 16. September 2013
Von Lita Perna - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Reading this even handed account of parallel biographies of a German Jew from an esteemed family and an animal loving German raised to be a priest, is like watching two trains roar towards each other on a single track.

Hans Alexander was born in 1917 Germany, a twin and the Jewish child of an esteemed and wealthy high society physician. `The Alexander residence took up the entire second floor of 219/220 Kaiseralle ('one of the smartest addresses in Berlin') ', and had 22 rooms. His father commissioned an architect and turned a four story structure into a sanatorium and furnished it with the latest equipment. Three doctors joined the practice with a team of nurses and technicians. There were family parties, a new car, and a country home.

Rudolf Hoss was a protected and lonely, child who grew up in Baden-Baden, and then the suburbs of Mannheim. He loved animals so much that he often smuggled his beloved pony into his bedroom. The author writes that he and the pony were inseparable and the pony followed Rudolf like a dog.
Rudolf's father taught him about the principles of the Catholic Church and took Rudolph on
pilgrimages to holy sites in Switzerland and to Lourdes in France. Rudolph reported that he took his religious duties seriously.
His father swore he would be a priest. Rudolf's education was planned to prepare him for a religious life.

Rudolf joined the Red Cross and impressed by soldiers' bravery he lied about his age and enlisted in the army when he was 14 years old.

The book recounts his war experiences; how he became involved in the Nazi Party and how he participated in the killing a former colleague who he believed to be a traitor and then Rudolph's Hoss' crucial and fatal decision to leave his beloved farm and new family to rejoin the military.

It follows his rise to become the Kommandant of Auschwitz/Birkenau.

We learn about life in the Hoss' family's villa in Auschwitz when Rudolph was the Kommandant. We learn of his wife's extravagance, what kind of family man Rudolf was and his increasing moodiness.

Hans Alexander's highly assimilated family had been optimistic about their future in Germany even with the rise of the National Socialists until storm troopers blocked their door and a crowd stood in front of their building shouting, `Don't buy from the Jews.'

Things got worse.

The author recounts the gradual realization that Hans Alexander's family had to leave, and leave everything behind as they struggle to relocate to England.

Hans becomes a soldier. In May, 1945 he enters the horror of Belsen concentration camp where corpses lay piled on top of each other and bulldozers push the dead into mass graves.

The story is about how Hans Alexander hunts down and captures Rudolf Hoss who was responsible for the deaths of three million people.

But it's more.

Hanns and Rulolf is about real people (thus the first names) and real decisions and real actions which, if can't be excused, or understood, in the case of Hoss, are deemed worthy of examination.
The author's success in capturing Hoss' motivations and personality are startling; so much that at times at tmes I could almost see Hoss' face and almost feel his breath.

This story is also remarkable because Hans Alexander is the author Thomas Harding's great uncle and Harding only learned about his uncle being a Nazi hunter after he died.

It is also a story of bravery and heroism and love and family.

The story begins with two little boys; one, the sheltered pampered son of a doctor and the other an animal lover poised to serve humanity as a priest.

One became a Nazi hunter and the other a mass murderer.

I can't get this story out of my mind.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Bravo 22. Juli 2014
Von Cary Kostka Jr - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is not the sort of book I typically read, but it locked me in from the beginning. You have the stories of two men that had very different beginnings and endings based on the paths they chose to walk.

One man starts life living carefree and ends up narrowly escaping the horrors that the Jewish population would have to endure in Nazi held areas, eventually hunting those responsible for these acts and finally settling into what we would consider a normal life. The other man has a hard go of it from the beginning and for me he developed a sick logic that would lead him to blindly spearhead the most heinous of events in human history.

For me, this book illustrates just how narrow a line we walk in our lives. One tiny slip can lead one to spiraling into an abyss of pain and horror…one man went all the way down while the other managed to hang on to his humanity even in his dark moments. The history presented by the author was beautifully done and boldly reveals lessons that humanity still need to learn based on some of the current events unfolding now.

I think that this book should be required reading for older students when the holocaust is covered in class; I have made this a required read in my household.
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