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Rudolf Hoess

Rudolf Hoess was history's greatest mass murderer, the architect and SS Commandant of the largest killing center ever created, the death camp Auschwitz, whose name has come to symbolize humanity's ultimate descent into evil. Responsible for exterminating 2,5 million people in World War II, he was a mild-mannered, happily married Catholic who enjoyed normal family life with his five children despite his view of the crematoria chimney stacks from his bedroom window.

At peak efficiency Auschwitz had the capacity to 'get rid of ten thousand people in 24 hours,' as Rudolf Hoess would testify during the War Crimes Trials after WW2. Witness after witness, document after document produced irrefutable evidence of the crimes committed, and no witness was more shocking than Rudolf Hoess, who calmly explained how he had come to exterminate 2,5  million people.


Rudolf Franz Hoess was born in 1900 and joined the SS in 1933. In 1934 he was attached to the SS at Dachau, on August 1, 1938, he was adjutant of the Sachsenhausen KZ camp until his appointment as Commandant of the newly-built camp at Auschwitz early 1940, located nearby the provincial Polish town of Oshwiecim in Galacia.

May 1941 the SS commander Heinrich Himmler said to Hoess, that Adolf Hitler had given orders 'for the final solution of the Jewish question. I have chosen the Auschwitz camp for this purpose'.

Hoess converted Auschwitz into an extermination camp and installed gas chambers and crematoria. Auschwitz became the killing centre where the largest numbers of European Jews were killed. After an experimental gassing there in September 1941 of 850 malnourished and ill  prisoners, mass murder became a daily routine.

By mid 1942, mass gassing of Jews using Zyklon-B began at Auschwitz, where extermination was conducted on an industrial scale with 2,5 million persons eventually killed through gassing, starvation, disease, shooting, and burning ...

At Auschwitz so called camp doctors - German physicians and scientists - performed vile and potentially lethal medical experiments on concentration camps inmates, and tortured Jewish children, Gypsy children and many others. "Patients" were put into pressure chambers, tested with drugs, castrated, frozen to death, and exposed to various other traumas.

In late 1943 Rudolf Hoess was appointed chief inspector of the concentration camps and worked hard to improve the efficiency of the other extermination camps. He performed his job so well that he was commended in a 1944 SS report that called him 'a true pioneer in this area because of his new ideas and educational methods.'

Hoess fled at the approach of the Red Army and went into hiding in Germany under the name Franz Lang. He was arrested by Allied military police in 1946 and handed over to the Polish authorities, who tried him in 1947. He was sentenced to death, and returned to Auschwitz to be hanged on the one-person gallows outside the entrance to the gas chamber.

Rudolf Hoess related before his execution how he often felt weak-kneed at having to push hundreds of screaming, pleading children into the gas chambers: "I did, however, always feel ashamed of this weakness of mine after I talked to Adolf Eichmann. He explained to me that it was especially the children who have to be killed first, because where was the logic in killing a generation of older people and leaving alive a generation of young people who can be possible avengers of their parents and can constitute a new biological cell for the reemerging of this people."

 

 

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