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Death Dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz
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Death Dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz

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3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  836 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
SS Kommandant Rudolph Höss (1900–1947) was history's greatest mass murderer, personally supervising the extermination of approximately two million people, mostly Jews, at the death camp in Auschwitz, Poland. Death Dealer is a new, unexpurgated translation of Höss’s autobiography, written before, during, and after his trial. This edition includes rare photos, the minutes of ...more
Paperback, 414 pages
Published March 22nd 1996 by Da Capo Press
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Julie
Nov 15, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, non-fiction
(Because you can’t give a Nazi 5 stars)

“Rudolph Hoss’s memoirs are perhaps the most important document attesting to the Holocaust, because they are the only candid, detailed, and essentially honest description of the plan of mass annihilation from a high-ranking SS officer intimately involved in the carrying out of Hitler’s and Himmler’s plan.” (from the book’s preface). I think that is a pretty accurate depiction of what this book is. Hoss was forthright in conveying his own personal history, h
...more
Alan   Mauldin
Apr 08, 2016 Alan Mauldin rated it really liked it
This alleged human is scary. In writing his memoirs he revealed a lack of awareness, emotion and responsibility that is breathtaking. The SS guards he was assigned, the poor medical care, lack of supplies and indifferent higher officers all caused the brutal and deadly conditions at Auschwitz. He struggled mightily to rectify the situation, but could not manage due to everyone conspiring against him. There was nothing he could do to stop the sadistic guards from encouraging the mistreatment of p ...more
Gretchen
I read this book quickly...I wanted to read it but not to linger on it any more than necessary because I felt such disgust and dirtiness just touching the pages. But I think its still imporant to understand the perpetrator mentality...and try to understand what makes people do things?

The question of the book: Is Hoss completely delusional and fanatical and believing everything he says? Or is he diabolical, evil, clever and trying to write a persuasive account so that his life or at least his rep
...more
Ashley Jacobson
Sep 18, 2016 Ashley Jacobson rated it it was amazing
It's been almost 10 years since I read this book, but it was eye opening. It was factual and so interesting on a moral level. I still felt as if he was a despicable man, but it was interesting to read about the camps from a different perspective. It was obvious he did not feel remorse for what he did and continued to claim that he was doing the right thing. But this isn't a repentant man admitting he was fooled into doing horrible things. He still believes what he did was right. This is an impor ...more
James
Aug 09, 2009 James rated it it was amazing
If you had any doubts about the Holocaust this book will change your mind. Reading this book is very scary and upsetting. He treats the Jews and others as vermin to be killed. If you belive Hilter did not know what was going on this book will end that notion.
Bernie Weisz
Jul 24, 2011 Bernie Weisz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review Written By Bernie Weisz Historian, Pembroke Pines, Fl USA Contact: BernWei1@aol.com
Title of Review: A Disturbing Description by a "Super-Sociopath" This is a memoir that exemplifies the true meaning of a sociopath, a man who kills without conscience. Rudolf Hoess was history's greatest mass murderer, the architect and SS Commandant of the largest killing center ever created, the death camp of "Auschwitz" (located in Poland), whose name has come to symbolize humanity's ultimate, abject des
...more
Bernie Weisz
Jul 28, 2011 Bernie Weisz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review Written By Bernie Weisz, Historian Pembroke Pines, Fl USA Contact: Bernwei1@aol.com December 21, 2008 Title of Review: "A Disturbing Description by a "Super-Sociopath!" This is a memoir that exemplifies the true meaning of a sociopath, a man who kills without conscience. Rudolf Hoess was history's greatest mass murderer, the architect and SS Commandant of the largest killing center ever created, the death camp of "Auschwitz" (located in Poland), whose name has come to symbolize humanity's ...more
Staci
Jul 20, 2009 Staci added it
So far, it's just scary in a million ways. The total disconnect from what he was doing. The justifications. The blame put on others (he was working on "building Auschwitz" and others were in charge of the prisoners, and they didn't follow his directions)...I could go on and on. Scary. Scary. Have I said how scary it is???
**

OK, I finished. Let me say how relieved I am (!!!!) that he "realized" at the end that what he did was just wrong. That it didn't help the cause of anti-Semitism. That the Je
...more
EricW
Nov 16, 2014 EricW rated it liked it
Shelves: world-war-ii
Because this memoir is something one reads as an historical curiosity rather than for literary merit, giving it a star rating seems a little pointless. Some of the chapters are intersting, but it definitely isn't a book most people will read cover to cover. Some details are horrific (as one would expect), other parts were quite tedious. One sentence that jumped out at me, from a chapter entitled The Gassings: "And yet, I really had no reason to complain about being bored at Auschwitz." Jesus. Gl ...more
Heather
Jun 21, 2010 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Most of the book is him expressing how he did nothing wrong.
Bernie Weisz
May 10, 2010 Bernie Weisz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written by Bernie Weisz e mail:BernWei1@aol.com Title of review:
A Disturbing Description by a "Super-Sociopath" April 10, 2010

I read this book many years ago in college and decided to reread it recently under the title "Commandant of Auschwitz". This book exemplifies the true meaning of a sociopath, a man who truly kills without conscience. Rudolf Hoess was history's greatest mass murderer, the architect and SS Commandant of the largest killing center ever created, the death camp of "Auschwitz"
...more
Ian
Jul 27, 2016 Ian rated it really liked it
Shelves: wwii, family-memoir
This was a fascinating insight into the heart and mind of the camp commander of Auschwitz, Rudolf Hoess. An ardent Nazi, he was captured in 1946 and at the behest of his Polish captors, wrote a collection of memoirs outlining his early life, military career, working at Auschwitz, and snapshots of various members of the S.S. that he knew and worked with.

At times, I almost felt sorry for him, but you can also see through his writing that he really didn't "get it". Although he felt badly for killi
...more
Nicholas Dubé
"In order to veil the politics of tyranny, one simply has to use propaganda, by cleverly twisting all facts, make the politics and actions acceptable to the people. In order to prevent doubt and opposition from the beginning, a system of terror has to be created." -Rudolf Höss.

Growing up, we watch television shows and movies of monsters and ghouls. We hear about the serial killers and mass shooters on the news. We learn about genocide and ethnic cleansing from our history lessons in middle scho
...more
Linda Munro
Mar 31, 2011 Linda Munro rated it it was amazing
An amazing book; anyone in the field of psycology should read it for sure! How is it that a person who feels so deeply for his own family can put hundreds of thousands of humans to death. The denial in thi man as to what he could have, should have done as Kommadant of Auschwitz and what he actually did has helped me to understand more about what is happening in America. Those within the states who are carrying out Union stripping bills may want to read this book, or maybe they have, since the la ...more
Juliette
Conflicted about the rating. This book was very uncomfortable, nauseatingly real and twisted. Höss' autobiography is hard to read, because it shows how normal the man was, how ordinary, and how he, in hindsight, realises that he was wrong and should feel remorse. He was a product of his time, and the ultimate example of the sheer bureaucracy of the holocaust and the Nazi regime. He joined the voluntary army and the NSDAP after the First World War, and the SS later on. When he came to the camps, ...more
Wendy
Mar 08, 2016 Wendy rated it really liked it
The stars are an indicator of how important I think this book is in the course of history. It can be a very dry read, the author being a concentration camp commandant instead of a best-selling novelist. The glimpse into his childhood and personal life is enlightening though.
Hoss is quite dispassionate about what happened during the war. All through the book, the following themes are quite constant. 1) He was doing his duty. He's just a soldier. 2) The atrocities and abuses in Auschwitz were not
...more
Anne Cupero
Jan 18, 2013 Anne Cupero rated it liked it
If this guy is a true sociopath, he would be glib and callous and really not think anything about the feelings of ANYONE else. I think Daniel Goldhagen and the other writers who write of the participation of the Holocaust make a better case for the legitimization of the crimes through the legal and political arenas. Jews were seen as pernicious, filthy, etc. I don't think all of these participants were sociopaths, not considering that they had normal relationships with their wives and families ( ...more
Chelly
Apr 28, 2012 Chelly rated it really liked it
I finished it. Amazed as all get out that this man responsible for killing so many tries to pin the blame on others. Thetheme was "its nit my fault. They wouldnt listen to me on how to improve the camp." Words of a man preparing to meet his maker. Hoss at times seems almost too smart and calculating to bebelieved and at othertimes you almost feel sorryfor him. Notice I say almost as all ittook was to remember the dead at Auschwitz and pity went out the window. A great read for anyone with intere ...more
Rex
Nov 26, 2008 Rex rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: History, psychology buffs
Recommended to Rex by: Robert Brokamp
*Unprecedented* insight into Nazi groupthink in WWII. These are the memoirs of Rudolph Höss, commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, who oversaw the deaths of some two million Jews. Höss carried out orders fanatically and without question. The casual manner in which he describes assembling, testing, and using the gas chambers is both sickening and fascinating (and not for everyone). These are Höss' own words, unedited, written during and after his war crimes trial. It may be the most aut ...more
Sarah
Jun 19, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it
I have a hard time saying that I enjoyed reading this book since it is the memoirs of the man who created the killing center we all know so well - Auschwitz.

If anything, it's an interesting read into human nature and how this happens to people and how they can become so cold and indifferent towards their neighbors. I had to keep reminding myself throughout his memoir that he was talking about people, real people.

I highly recommend this book.
Herbert
Ik had er eigenlijk iets meer van verwacht. Krijg voor mij onvoldoende inzicht in Höss zijn denkwijze. Het is inderdaad een beschrijving van zijn leven of meer bepaald zijn werk. Als commandant van één van de grootste vernietigingskampen. Hoe twisted kan je zijn. Persoonlijk vind ik het niet het beste werk over de Holocaust.
Timothy Krecsmar
Hard to give this 5 stars just because of the author's refusal to accept any blame or acknowledge any guilt. However, a chilling, horrible, so matter-of-fact account of Auschwitz it's hard to put down. I found myself retreading passage after passage because it just didn't fully sink in. Not for everyone, but it should be.
Arturo
Sep 18, 2010 Arturo rated it did not like it
Un libro horrible, cursi, presuntuoso, cínico, falaz. El único interés de su lectura es tener una oportunidad más de confirmar la escasa fiabilidad de las autobiografías. Puedo imaginar a un joven neonazi leyendo este libro como si fuera verdad revelada y creyéndose realmente que Höss fue un soldado valeroso, un marido y padre ejemplar, un pacifista y un amante de la libertad.
Poprox18
Apr 18, 2012 Poprox18 rated it really liked it
Höss is hauntingly clinical in his descriptions of the camps. An interesting twist from other Holocaust literature because it is from the point of view of a Nazi leader. Not a quick, easy read by any means. Difficult to digest the content.
Dougg
Jul 23, 2009 Dougg rated it really liked it
Stunning matter of fact account of how a normal man turns into a monster.... And doesn't own up to it in the end....
Emanuel Landeholm
Apr 15, 2011 Emanuel Landeholm rated it liked it
Shelves: read-bio
Audiobook. Not a fantastic read, but an interesting first person view of a really sick mind. Gore/bizarre.
Camille
Sep 28, 2012 Camille rated it really liked it
Haunting in his frankness and ambivalence over his roll as Kommandant of the infamous extermination camp.
Marsmannix
May 11, 2015 Marsmannix rated it liked it
Talk about whitewash.
It was interesting to hear this Nazi's perspective on his duty, and how "well" he treated the Jews and other prisoners in Auschwitz.
Rachel
Jan 05, 2010 Rachel rated it really liked it
One of the most haunting books I've ever read, but I think it was worth it to see how evil can spawn from the most unlikely sources.
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Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Höss (also spelled Höß and Hoess; 1900/1901 – 16 April 1947) was an SS-Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant Colonel), and from 4 May 1940 to November 1943 the first commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp. Höss joined the Nazi Party in 1922 and the SS in 1934. He was hanged in 1947 following his trial.
More about Rudolf Höss...

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“Fue Himmler, y sólo él, quien durante el curso de la guerra fijó el carácter definitivo de los campos de concentración. Sólo él daba las órdenes al servicio de Seguridad, sólo él tenía el derecho a hacerlo.” 1 likes
“Tuve varias oportunidades de hablar largo y tendido con Eichmann sobre la solución definitiva del problema judío...
Para llegar a eso, no podía titubear ante ningún medio. Pero, ni los tragos más fuertes ni la ausencia de todo testigo indiscreto le hacían desdecirse de su punto de vista: con demente obstinación, preconizaba el aniquilamiento de todos los judíos a los que se le pudiera echar mano. Había que proseguir con el exterminio, decía, con toda la rapidez posible y sin piedad alguna. Tener la menor consideración significaba lamentarlo, después, con amargura.”
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