- 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 2,7 x 19,8 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 103.493 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Hanns and Rudolf: The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Mai 2014
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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 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
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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"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?
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.
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com
HANNS AND RUDOLF is the brilliantly told story of these two disparate men and how the hunted, Hanns, after World War II became the hunter who dedicated his life to bringing Rudolf Hoess to justice. Author Thomas Harding, a descendant of the Alexander family, narrates his story precisely and factually, without excessive background or stylistic glitz. The result is a relatively fast, and very absorbing nonfiction book that anyone who has an interest in this period should pick up and read. This is one of those "international best-sellers" truly worthy of the name, and I for one am very glad it came to my attention through an Amazon discussion thread.
The book has a superb map in the beginning, telling photos and a fine bibliography. This is the second book by Thomas Harding , read and reviewed; the first, being “The House by the Lake.”
After reaching England, Hanns Alexander almost immediately enlisted in the British military becoming part of the Pioneer Corps which consisted mainly of foreign émigrés such as himself. His service to his adopted country gradually got him promoted through the ranks. Towards the end of the war, he was sent to Europe and because of his fluency in both English and German, he was assigned the tasks of hunting down those who had been designated as war criminals by the Allies. His first major capture was that of Gustav Simon, the notorious Gauleiter of Luxembourg.
Rudolf Höss originated from a farming family. He had an abusive father and learned to obey authority figures absolutely and without question from a very early age. He joined the Nazi party at an early stage of its evolution and became a protégé of sorts of the notorious Heinrich Himmler. He received his training in the management of prisoners at the Dachau concentration camp near Munich. Höss prided himself on his efficiency in the management of detainees as a result of which Himmler tasked him with setting up the Auschwitz camp in Upper Silesia which was a part of Poland that was annexed by the Third Reich. Höss's efficiency was such that the camp rapidly enlarged and received its first assignment of Jews in 1942.
Höss in his striving for efficiency realized that Hitler and Himmler's intention to annihilate European Jewry could not be achieved by murders of small groups of victims. He was therefore instrumental in promoting the use of the poison gas Zyklon B in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. Höss was a hands-on Kommandant. He often witnessed the death agonies of victims through a small peephole in the door to the main gas chamber. He was recalled for a while in 1943 to serve at a desk job at the Concentration Camp Inspectorate adjacent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. However, after the German invasion of Hungary in 1944, Himmler perceived a need for greater efficiency at Auschwitz because of the imminent deportation there of the large and hitherto untouched Jewish population of Hungary. Therefore, Höss, as a known specialist in mass extermination, was transferred back to Auschwitz where he personally supervised the murder of at least four hundred thousand Hungarian Jews. He clearly enjoyed his work as shown from a smiling group photograph with other camp personnel including Dr. Mengele.
The paths of Höss and Alexander converged after the German surrender. Höss had fled to northern Germany where he lived on a farm close to the Danish border under an assumed name. There he was tracked down by Hanns Alexander and arrested. After his arrest, Höss gave testimony at the Nuremberg trials of the Nazi bigwigs including Goring, Ribbentrop and Hess. He provided the first real testimony of the methods used to perpetrate the Nazi's Final Solution. Höss was subsequently handed over to the Polish government which tried him and sentenced him to death by hanging.
Mr. Harding's book makes for very gripping reading. However, it has an almost surreal quality about it. We learn that Hoss and his wife Hedwig and their children lived in a luxuriously-appointed villa at Auschwitz. Hedwig loved camp life and wished that it would go on forever! The Höss family loved taking photographs and the photographs of them relaxing during Höss's leisure time are amazing considering what was happening nearby. Even though the main Auschwitz crematorium was just over the yard wall from the villa, Hoss claimed implausibly that his wife was unaware of what was happening until a visiting official spilled the beans during a conversation. This was despite the fact that the smell of burning flesh spread far and wide over the surrounding countryside.
Hanns Alexander emerges from the book as a colorful character who was grateful for being given refuge by his adopted country and who quite rightfully detested the country of his birth for all that had been done and countenanced by his fellow Germans. The main value of the book lies in its depiction of Höss and his mentality based on the author's review of Höss's correspondence after his detention and his autobiography written while in a Polish prison and entitled "Commandant at Auschwitz Rudolf Hoess."
Hannah Arendt had used the famous phrase the "banality of evil" to describe Adolph Eichmann during his trial in Jerusalem. However, as Deborah Lipstadt and others have made clear Eichmann was not a simple clerk in mass murder but was an enthusiastic participant and innovator in the mass murder of European Jewry. The phrase "banality of evil," seems more fitting as a description for Höss. He was very proud of his efficiency in running Auschwitz and seems to have regarded it as being like any ordinary factory except that its end product was millions of dead bodies.
All this information has been conveyed previously in statistical and historical terms in such magisterial works as Saul Friedländer's "The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945." However, Mr. Harding's contribution is important and possibly unique because it shows us the mind of a Nazi mass murderer, such as it was, and therefore puts a human face on the Holocaust. This excellent book makes a major part of the Holocaust, namely the actual process of extermination, accessible to the average person in a very readable form. Mr. Harding has succeeded in providing a gripping nonfiction psychological thriller. It is not pleasant reading but I think it is a valuable resource for those wishing to know more about this dreadful period in world history.
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