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Commandant Of Auschwitz

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,340 ratings  ·  212 reviews
An extraordinary and unique document: Hoess was in charge of the huge extermination camp in Poland where the Nazis murdered some three million Jews, from the time of its creation (he was responsible for building it) in 1940 until late in 1943, by which time the mass exterminations were half completed. Before this he had worked in other concentration camps, and afterwards h ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 5th 2000 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson (first published 1956)
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Maja  - BibliophiliaDK ✨
People who, according to Rudolph Höss, were to blame for the horrors at Auschwitz:
1. Heinrich Himmler
2. The Auschwitz guards
3. The prisoners themselves

People who, according to Rudolph Höss, were NOT to blame for the horrors at Auschwitz:
1. Rudolph Höss

WARNING! - sarcasm (on my part) may occur in the following!
Rudolph Höss believed himself to be an SS saint - he did what was expected of him, he was steadfastly loyal and he protected the Fatherland against all enemies, interior and exterior.
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Did I give this book five stars because I agree with what he did? With the persecution of Jews, homosexuals, gypsies, etc? With the slaughter of millions of lives?

Of course not.

The book deserves five stars because it gets you into the mind of a cruel man who can carry out cruel actions and still be able to play the martyr.

In this book, you will heard countless times how it wasn't Hoess's fault. How he was always striving for the best he could get his prisoners. How hard he was done by! He eve
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was the most difficult thing I've read in my entire life.

The rating is not for the content of the book or the writing. The rating is for the necessity of reading this when studying Holocaust literature. The rating applies to the eloquent introduction by Primo Levi. The rating applies to the footnotes correcting the lies and pointing out the manipulative language Höss used in an attempt to absolve himself from blame and wrongdoing amid the atrocities he committed.

As Levi pointed out, it
Jon Nakapalau
Rudolf Höss was a linchpin in the machinery that drove the gears of the Holocaust. As such his perspective (although biased) needs to be examined - to prevent such perspectives in the future.
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, own
(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
Alan   Mauldin
Apr 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-ii
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
Niklas Pivic
This book is, as Primo Levi says in the introduction, filled with lies and shirks, but never the less, it is an extremely important document of The Final Solution, the extermination machine, Auschwitz, Birkenau, the bureaucracy, the corruption and the insanity that existed in the top ranks and among the SS in Auschwitz.

While Höss details his life from growing up until the end, he intersperses the story with very important details on how Auschwitz grew, how the sub-camps worked, he also writes ab
Ellie Midwood
I must admit, I’m not sure how to rate this memoir. On one hand, it’s an extremely valuable historical document for everyone who takes studying the Holocaust seriously as it gives the perspective of the perpetrator who was in charge of the biggest extermination camp in history and has literally millions of lives on his conscience. On the other hand, despite all of his “now, looking back, I know that it was all a mistake and things should have been handled differently,” I never sensed even a remo ...more
Jun 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haunting book - the memoirs that Höss, Auschwitz commander for two years, wrote while in jail awaiting execution. This Italian edition (for one in English see Death Dealer: The Memoirs Of The Ss Kommandant At Auschwitz) comes with a lucid preface by Primo Levi (himlsef an Auschwitz survivor) - Hoss sees himself simply as somebody who wants to do his job properly, or at least this is the justification he is putting out to the world. In his allucinated perspective, perfecting ways to "process" lar ...more
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why I continually feel compelled to read books about the Holocaust. But I do. When we visited Auschwitz a few years ago, our guide practically spat out the name of Rudolf Hoss every time she had to say it. We saw the house he lived in. The place where he was executed. And somehow I felt the need to be a witness to his words.

It is, of course, a chilling read. The 'banality of evil' is on full display. And most disturbing of all, to me, is the fact that even today, seventy five years
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a good read that has to be taken with a pinch of salt. Most of the stories/narrative in the book are accurate and backed by historians except with some inconsistencies that the reader will be able to notice (the careful reader) within the book itself.
In my opinion, the book was left as a kind of explanation for his family. It is obvious that there is no remorse in Hoss' narrative.
Please do not miss the appendices, they are dry but they will help the reader recognize inconsistencies with
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: death
Along with many other reviewers on this site, I have mixed feelings about giving this book a 5-star rating. The stars here don't reflect the quality of the writing, or any valuation of the narrative arc of this astoundingly painful read, or any other sort of ordinary meaning of rating or review. However, students of authoritarianism (aren't we all, these days) ought to pick this one up, for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it is very interesting and also important to study the ways that, in the wee
I find it interesting that the book was written after he was sentenced to death but he still clings on to the Nazi ideology. He clings to the idea that he was only taking orders to get him off the hook. I'm not surprised by this phrase because it was used by many Nazi who were captured. I mention all this so other readers may read this book with a certain amount of honest skepticism. Hoss uses the Nazi argument that criminals, the mentally defective and members of non-Arian races were largely re ...more
This is the the first person account of the Commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss, a man that in his own words was personally responsible for the death of two million people (at the very least). As such, I found it extremely difficult to review and yet, perhaps for that very reason, I felt compelled to put down my thoughts on this one. Perhaps the very act of making them public will help me process what was a jarring experience: this autobiography left me in a state of painful dismay and anger; s ...more
Mr Norton
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Greek philosopher Socrates used to win his arguments not by attacking his adversaries but by instead asking them open, seemingly innocent questions. In their confident answering of such intellectual trojan horses, his sophist opponents would have the frailties of their logic exposed. I’m not sure if the British captors of Rudolf Hoess were aware of the socratic technique when they forced him to write his autobiography but, in getting Hoess to write this horrible, self-aggrandising book, simi ...more
Anne Hawn Smith
This was amazingly interesting. Rudolf Hoess was the only high-ranking Nazi who admitted that what he did was heinous and he deserved to be executed. At times the book seemed self-serving, but as you continue to read it becomes evident that everything in his upbringing and as a Nazi taught him that the highest service, and obligation was to obey orders without question.

The book gives an incredible window into the thinking of the Nazis and gave a picture of the milieu they lived in. The humanist
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, ww2
This was a very disturbing and eye-opening account of the operations of Auschwitz-Birkenau from 3 select SS-Men. I bought it at the bookstore in Auschwitz and the vivid descriptions from the authors were made very real to me since I spent a whole day at both camps. It was different from accounts by Holocaust prisoners or survivors (ex. Anne Frank, Elie Wiesel) since it was coming from condemned officers who rarely showed emotion or sympathy. Rudolph Hoss wrote his autobiography in prison with th ...more
David Mackey
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A horrifying read that awakens our oftentimes apathetic hearts. Full review is on my blog.
So far, chilling, self-serving and self-justifying, but undeniably fascinating glimpse into the mind and motivations of the man who was Commandant at Auschwitz. The classic "I was only obeying orders" line. However, from some of what Hoess has revealed thus far it would appear he came to realise the horror of what he had done in the name of Hitler and the SS, and accepted judgement and punishment.

Not an easy book to read. Hoess matter-of-factly details the ideology behind the camps and what has
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. His autobiography serves as a unique and valuable window into the mind of National Socialism and how such a monstrous crime could have taken place.

Hoess's memoirs are his apologia for his actions. He knew that his book would be his great testament to the world, so he tries his best to ex
Leah Hess
Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Commandant of Auschwitz is a true account from the Auschwitz Commandant's perception of all the events taking place in Auschwitz and other concentration camps.

I've had this book, which consists of only 235 pages, on my bookshelf for a while now. It should, theoretically, be a quick, easy read. But it isn't. My stomach was churning with every page. The accounts of what happened sickened me. I applaud Hoess for his honest recollection while in prison waiting to be murdered for the events in Auschw
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
Linda Munro
Mar 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is downright disturbing! Rudolph Hoess, who oversaw the Auschwitz camps during the time that the crematoriums were built, during the time when millions of Jews and other human beings were exterminated there, finds it within himself to spend an entire book explaining why he's at no fault at all, and shows no regret whatsoever. The blame seems to lay all around him (he blames his superiors as well as his subordinates) but somehow manages to escape him.

What's even more disturbing is how h
Oct 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't honestly rate a book higher than 3 stars when the subject matter is so disgusting to me. Did I enjoy the book? Hard to say. I found Rudolf to be at odds in himself, on one hand giving his children the advice to not blindly follow orders and on the other hand he seems dismissive of the millions killed under his command as he was "only following orders". Time after time he asserts that he did not personally kill a single person. I found the book incredibly interesting, infuriating and eye- ...more
Ashley  Jacobson
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-biography
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
Aug 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Wilde Sky
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An edited memoir of a Nazi death camp commandant.

This was a chilling read - the man appears to show no feelings as he writes about his part in the holocaust.

Reading time around 2 hours.
Bernie Weisz
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review Written By Bernie Weisz Historian, Pembroke Pines, Fl USA Contact:
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
Bernie Weisz
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review Written By Bernie Weisz, Historian Pembroke Pines, Fl USA Contact: 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
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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.

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