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Commandant of Auschwitz : The Autobiography of Rudolf Hoess Paperback – September 1, 2000


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Commandant of Auschwitz : The Autobiography of Rudolf Hoess + Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers
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Product Details

  • Series: Phoenix Press
  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix (September 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842120247
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842120248
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German

About the Author

Rudolf Hoess was the Commandant of Auschwitz during the war. He was executed in Poland upon concluding these memoirs.

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Customer Reviews

If similar views are believed they will lead to similar actions evenually.
Duane C Hatfield
I recommend this book for any serious student of the Holocaust who desires an insight into the psyche of one of mankind's most horrific murderer's and bureaucrats.
Stephen M. Zielinski
Keep this in mind -- If at any point you should feel any slightest touch of empathy or understanding while reading this book, save it so someone who deserves it.
MrTapi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 41 people found the following review helpful By James W. Hull on October 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Worth reading if you're interested in what goes on inside a person engaged in socially-sanctioned mass murder. Full of details about the actual operation of Auschwitz that only he would have known. Balancing this preoccupation with the details of running the camp is ... nothing. No inner life, no emotional depth, no soul. A man who seems to have died long before his victims.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By William J. Kane II on July 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book was very disturbing on so many levels. Yet it was also fascinating to see the progression of this semi-average person, into a person who was responsible for the deaths of millions. Read the intro by Primo Levi first to get yourself in the right frame of mind.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By F. M. Ryan on December 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
I visited Auschwitz on two occasions, and consider it a pilgrimage everyone should make at least once. This book helps to make sense of the lay out and the process of running the camp. The blowing up of the crematoriums at the end of the war could not hide the shame that went on. This book is a story of betrayal, and while most will focus on the extermination of the millions who perished there I would like to focus on just one key act of betrayal. Rudolf Hoess belonged to a very religious Catholic family, and he at one stage longed to be a priest. His family hoped he would give his life to God. A priest betrayed his confessional secret by revealing a sin confessed to his father. Rudolf lost confidence in the Church and in God. He gave his allegiance to Hitler instead. His body may have developed but his mind never matured. This book is about how he drifted into positions that gave him power and acknowledgement in life, and a place of shame in history. This book is not a confession, there is no remorse there.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Niklas Pivic on August 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
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 about his family, mass exterminations, day-to-day activities, hardships, etc.

Remember: Höss joined the nazi party and the SS voluntarily. And he is considered by many to be the most cruel commandant of Auschwitz.

All in all, as Levi writes, Höss' prejudice and idiocies stick out like "flies in milk", but viewed with a critical eye, this is a must read for anybody who wants more insight into the horrors of The Final Solution.
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33 of 44 people found the following review helpful By thewahlmighty on December 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
The autobiography of Rudolf Hoess is the story of a man who would ultimately be in charge of the huge extermination camp at Auschwitz where millions of Jews were systematically murdered.
In its pages you will find an accurate account of the means that were used to isolate those victims, of the political principle that was used to justify the victims' elimination from public life, and of the mental state needed to carry out the order for their deaths. Consequently "this book," as Primo Levi states in his introduction, "is filled with evil."
Even so, the book ought to be read--and read carefully--because an understanding of the ideas that drove Rudolf Hoess to do what he did are a major step towards ensuring that the horrors of Nazi Germany will never happen again.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By MrTapi on April 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
How would one not be curious as to what this man has to say about himself! Though not great literature, this book makes a fascinating read -- just one thing to keep in mind: this is not a true account of what went on in Auschwitz. Hoess has written a story that he *wants* to tell, not the truth.

He does at times make it sound as though he were a principal perpetrator in mass murder out of kindness of his heart, being in an impossible situation where murder was the most compassionate thing to do. He describes the gassings as though they were an almost pleasant way for the victims to sleep away, and how upon opening of the gas chambers there were no sign of struggle or convulsion to be seen, no blood, no bruises. Anyone who has read any of the historical accounts knows he is lying.

For as long as the reader keeps in mind that this is not a truthful account, this book is a fascinating read: What kind of story does this man *make up* to excuse himself. And why is it so important for him (as, I suppose it might be for us all) to even as he is waiting for his execution, to lie to make himself seem not quite as bad.

If you are curious as to how a man who has confessed to murdering two million people tries to explain things so as to seem less evil, read this book. If you are looking for an accurate account, this is not the book you should read.

On a side note, just to give some conceivable scale on what this man has done -- he has confessed to killing of some two million people. The number of characters, or printed letters on all the pages of this book is about half million -- you would have to read this book four times over before you will have seen as many letters as this man has committed murders. Keep this in mind -- If at any point you should feel any slightest touch of empathy or understanding while reading this book, save it so someone who deserves it.
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