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August 20, 2013 9:03 pm

New Book Profiles Jewish Nazi Hunter Who Aided Capture of Auschwitz Commander Rudolph Höss

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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Auschwitz Commander Rudolph Höss was hanged at the former concentration camp in 1947. Photo: Yad Vashem.

Auschwitz Commander Rudolph Höss was hanged at the former concentration camp in 1947. Photo: Yad Vashem.

A new book, recently published, profiles a little known yet instrumental figure in the capture of notorious Nazi, head of the Auschwitz  concentration camp, commander Rudolph Höss, the UK’s Daily Mail reported.

Hanns Alexander was a German-born Jew who moved to the UK in 1936, served in the British Army in World War II and, unbeknownst to many until his death in 2006, when the details of his past were revealed in a eulogy, he worked as a translator for a team of Nazi hunters in 1945 that brought Höss to trial from which he ultimately received a death sentence for his crimes against humanity.

The book, Hanns And Rudolf: The German Jew And The Hunt For The Kommandant Of Auschwitz, was written by Thomas Harding, Alexander’s grand nephew.

In 1939, Hanns and his twin brother Paul volunteered for the Auxiliary Military Pioneer Corps, a unit of Jewish refugees who wanted to fight the Nazis, The Daily Mail said. By the end of the war, after having taken part in the D-Day landings in Normandy and the liberation of the Bergen Belsen concentration camp, Hanns Alexander was chosen to join a 12-man team of Nazi hunters as their translator

The capture of Höss, who was also the mastermind behind the use of Zyklon B gas to kill Jews, was achieved through pressuring the Nazi’s family to disclose where he was living, on a farm under a new name.

Höss was tried at Nuremberg, and then by Poland, where he was accused of murdering three million people. Höss was sentenced to death and hanged immediately adjacent to the crematorium of the former Auschwitz I concentration camp.

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  • Julian Clovelly

    The three million figure comes from Hoess’s testimony as a defence witness in Nuremberg where he estimated two and a half million executions and half a million dying from starvation and disease. The affidavit is dated 5April 1946.

    According to Wiki he was accused at the Polish trial of murdering three and a half million people but claimed himself it was only two and a half million

    In the last days of his life he recognised thet he had “sinned greatly against humanity” and asked for G-d’s forgiveness

    On the basis of Hoess’s testimony and death cell remarks alone Holocaust denial becomes ridiculous, as does any suggestion that it was anything other than inexcusable planned mass murder – recognised as such by one the most important instrument of the crimes.

    It is worth noting that one other great instrument in the Holocaust, Eichmann also did not deny the nature and magnitude of the crime only his role in it. Verification of the Holocaust is entirely independent of Jewish sources or of historical sources, including the perpetrators, that can be reasonably refuted. There is no “controversy” there is only antisemitism denying these appalling events.

  • Mendel

    Y’mach sh’mo

  • Mendel

    ימך שּׁמוֹ

  • James Goldman

    After I used the 3 million figure in a discussion, other membersof this group claimed that the real figure(More recent)was a million or so. Can you explain this d iscrepancy?

  • Elliot J. Stamler

    I believe there is an error in this story. Hoess testified at Nuremberg but he was not tried there. He was extradited to Poland which tried and convicted him. While by then Poland had a communist government, Hoess received an entirely fair trial-the communists had no incentive for any other kind of trial. He was hung as the story reports.

  • R