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Hanns and Rudolf: The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz Paperback – 1 May 2014
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"Thomas Harding has shed intriguing new light on the strange poison of Nazism, and one of its most lethal practitioners... Meticulously researched and deeply felt." (Ben Macintyre The Times, Book of the Week)
"Fascinating and moving...This is a remarkable book, which deserves a wide readership." (Max Hastings The Sunday Times)
"A gripping thriller, an unspeakable crime, an essential history." (John Le Carré)
"This is a stunning book...both chilling and deeply disturbing. It is also an utterly compelling and exhilarating account of one man's extraordinary hunt for the Kommandant of the most notorious death camp of all, Auschwitz-Birkenau." (James Holland)
"Only at his great uncle’s funeral in 2006 did Thomas Harding discover that Hanns Alexander, whose Jewish family fled to Britain from Nazi Germany in the 1930s, hunted down and captured Rudolf Höss, the ruthless commandant of Auschwitz, at the end of World War Two. By tracing the lives of these two men in parallel until their dramatic convergence in 1946, Harding puts the monstrous evil of the Final Solution in two specific but very different human contexts. The result is a compelling book full of unexpected revelations and insights, an authentic addition to our knowledge and understanding of this dark chapter in European history. No-one who starts reading it can fail to go on to the end." (David Lodge)
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
The extraordinary true story of the Jewish investigator who pursued and captured one of Nazi Germany’s most notorious war criminals.
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2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
Maybe this is what makes the book so compelling. The author does not judge by his own utterances of outrage, but sticks in the main to facts and testimonies. We have to come to our own conclusions and judge we must.
So what makes this book one to read? Well in my opinion the concept of tracing the lives of just two men on complete opposite sides of these terrible events is a good one. When you know how a tale is going to end it makes the "wisdom of hindsight" even more poignant. Why some of the German Jewish families thought that flight was not the best option seems almost unbelievable to us now and even more sadly and despairingly to their own family who fled whilst they could.
However the slow but remorseless growth of the persecution and establishment of the death camps is seen as accelerating delegation of “tasks” to implement “the final solution” rather than a grand and inclusive conspiracy. You’re left in amazement that Rudolph Hoss and his family could continue a “normal” family life and maintain agricultural aspirations whilst his “Day Job” was extermination of fellow human beings. Yes we know it happened, we know how it happened but this book seeks to explain how it happened.
Without too much imagination you can see how it could happen again? Not by a grand plan but by an insidious and slow deterioration of morality together with an extreme belief.
Should be on school book lists IMHO.
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Fast paced and fascinating account of mainly two lives. Really good read.
It was sometimes difficult to read because of how horrific the suffering was ,...Read more