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Hanns and Rudolf: The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz

Hanns and Rudolf: The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz [Kindle Edition]

Thomas Harding
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"This important and moving book describes the unlikely intersection of two very different lives - that of Hanns Alexander, the son of a prosperous German family in Berlin who became a refugee in London in the 1930s, and Rudolf Höss, the Kommandant of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Well-researched and grippingly written it provides a unique insight into the fate of Germany under National Socialism." (Antony Polonsky, Albert Abramson Professor Of Holocaust Studies At The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum And Brandeis University)

"Thomas Harding has written a book of two intersecting lives: His great uncle, a German Jew and potential Nazi victim, and Rudolf Höss, Kommandant of Auschwitz. In a neat historical irony, his uncle became a British officer who tracked down war criminals, including one of the world's worst mass murderers. A fascinating account, with chunks of new information, about one of history's darkest chapters." (Richard Breitman, Author Of The Architect Of Genocide: Himmler And The Final Solution And Editor-In-Chief Of The U.S. Holocaust Museum's Holocaust And Genocide Studies)

"A remarkable book: thoughtful, compelling and quite devastating in its humanity. Thomas Harding's account of these two extraordinary men goes straight to the dark heart of Nazi Germany." (Keith Lowe, Author Of Savage Continent: Europe In The Aftermath Of World War II)

"In this electrifying account, Thomas Harding commemorates (and, for the tired, revivifies) a ringing Biblical injunction: Justice, justice, shalt thou pursue." (Cynthia Ozick)

"This fascinating book, based on the gripping story of one man's unrelenting pursuit of Rudolf Höss in his search for justice, confirms my belief that much of the most important knowledge of the Holocaust, comes from the personal accounts of those involved. Hanns and Rudolf vividly brings to life, not only the impact of Hitler's anti-Semitic policies on the author's German Jewish family, forced to flee Berlin in the 1930s; but shows how an ordinary German farmer became one of the most feared and notorious war criminals in history, implementing with chilling efficiency the extermination of over a million Jews in Auschwitz. As awareness of the full horror of these dark years continues to advance, this book fills a unique and vital role." (Lyn Smith, Author Of Heroes Of The Holocaust)

Book Description

The extraordinary untold story of the Jewish investigator who pursued and captured one of Nazi Germany's most notorious war criminals.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3640 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (18 Aug 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,002 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story 7 Sep 2013
By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
"Hanns and Rudolf: The True Story of the German Jew Who Tracked Down and Caught the Kommandant of Auschwitz" by Thomas Harding is a well researched and documented account of two men's lives.
We learn about Rudolf Hoess, commander of the Auschwitz concentration camp, the man responsible for millions of deaths, from his childhood to the rise within the SS, his running of the camp, his life in hiding and his capture.
Hanns Alexander, a Berlin Jew who fled to London with his family, joined the British Forces and then went on to capture Hoess.
The book is very informative and gave a great account of what the people behind the names might have been like. Either lives are incredible and Harding has done a great job at venturing an educated guess at looking into the minds of these two people.
Having read several books of similar themes I found this book to be shining with its credibility and objectivity.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For anyone who finds the post-war accounts of the search for justice interesting, this is a must. It has a great personal touch in that the writer's admiration for his great-uncle Hanns shines through. I found the comparison between Hanns' and Rudolf's lives very interesting and thought the book was balanced in its views and in conveying the facts to the reader.

The writer had a healthy approach and did not veer towards outright condemnation of the Nazi, though his views were clear in that regard. He saw him as a flawed human being who had subscribed to and embraced a dangerous doctrine.

Well written, thought provoking and an enduringly interesting subject matter.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a highly readable account of two Germans of much the same age: one who had to flee his privileged Berlin background and become immersed in a new country, culture and language; the other who rose from a more humble provincial background to be responsible for one of the most efficient extermination camps of all. That the former became responsible for bringing the latter to justice makes a fascinating story in itself, but the author, nephew of the hunter, has done a brilliant job of exploring the attitudes and motives of each, while keeping them firmly rooted in the events and influences of the time. The result is a more individual view of how Nazi Germany escalated it's attack on its own Jewish countrymen to the 'final solution' of mass murder, and the hasty rush in the immediate aftermath to bring the perpetrators to justice. It also explains how ground-breaking the Nurenburg trials were. The paradox is how Hess wrote up his story prior to his execution while Hanns generally refused to talk about it for the rest of his life.
This is a well researched and readable biographical study that is also a fine tribute to the author's uncle.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of two Germans 9 Feb 2014
By Chris Pearson VINE VOICE
Two Germans. One Jewish, one not. Both grow up affected by the rise of the Nazis. Hanns flees to London whilst Rudolf, a family man, becomes Kommandant of Auschwitz.

Harding's storytelling is compelling, and the book is real page-turner.

The war ends, and Hanns, as a member of the British Forces, goes to Europe to track down war criminals. Ironically tracking down Gustav Simon, the Gauleiter of Luxembourg proves a challenge, whereas locating and capturing Hoess is much simpler.

You're rooting for Hanns, yet trying to comprehend why family man Rudolf initiated and oversaw such atrocities.

It's a very moving book, and reminds us of the horrors of the Holocaust, its impact and why we can't forget it.

Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent balancing act 17 July 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I thought this was an excellent book. It's certainly not the first I've read about the Holocaust, but it's impressed me for a particular reason. The author, Thomas Harding, is the great-nephew of Hanns Alexander, the eponymous German Jew. Given what his family went through during the Third Reich, it would not be unreasonable to expect him to succumb to the temptation of painting a one-dimensional portrait of his great-uncle as the perfect hero and Rudolf Hoess as the blackest of black villains. Yet, remarkably, he doesn't. While he doesn't hesitate to describe in harrowing detail the mass murders and appalling 'lesser' crimes for which Rudolf Hoess was responsible, and his utter lack of real, genuine remorse for them as opposed to for their consequences for him and his family, he also reflects the other side of the man - the obedient, hard worker and loving father. In equal detail he describes the sometimes wilful child that his great-uncle was, and writes openly of his prolonged procrastination towards the girl who was later to become his wife. I was especially struck by how Hanns and his twin brother Paul, both as children and adults, teased children in an almost bullying way that left me feeling rather uncomfortable. I couldn't help wondering how that trait might have developed had they later found themselves in circumstances where it could have been given free rein and encouragement - running a concentration camp, for example. It's very much to Mr Harding's credit, especially given how emotionally involved he must be in the story - that he gave us a picture of both Mr Hoess and Mr Alexander as human beings, with all the qualities and the flaws that every human being has. I think that added a great deal to the awful fascination of their stories, and it makes it almost impossible to finish the book without wondering 'what might I have done?' - in either Mr Hoess's or Mr Alexander's position. A very, very good read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent modern history.
Published 12 hours ago by Peter Simons
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a truly amazing book. It is very well researched and reads ...
This is a truly amazing book. It is very well researched and reads like a thrilling novel - all the more compelling because it is true. I found I could not put it down
Published 2 days ago by AlanG
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone who thought they knew all about Auschwitz
I did miss a few details in the book. When and how did Hoess write his memoirs (which I read almost 40 years ago, without really understanding)? Read more
Published 6 days ago by Michael
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 9 days ago by Mrs ICM Kenny
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Superb read,difficult to put down
Published 9 days ago by Super rover
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary story of three extraordinary men
This is a superb account linking the author, his great-uncle Hanns (of the title) who was a Berlin Jew who escaped from the Nazis and joined the British forces during the war, and... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Mike in Sussex
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating read
I really loved the book, it totally captured me and made me think and talk about it long after i had finished it. Read more
Published 12 days ago by MinnieM
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
just started it but very engrossing
Published 13 days ago by Paul Clarkson
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific account of real folk concerned in the terrible
A must read. A terrific account of real folk concerned in the terrible, inhumane happenings of the concentration camps and beyond.
Published 13 days ago by joseph thomson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book.
Published 14 days ago by alan wainwright
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