The Commandant: An Account by the First Commanding Officer of Auschwitz

The Commandant: An Account by the First Commanding Officer of Auschwitz

by Rudolf Hoess
     
 

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Rudolf Hoess was the notorious Commandant of Auschwitz. Imprisoned and awaiting execution after the war, Hoess wrote a long memoir, a self- serving account of his life and approaches to management.
The amoral sensibility Hoess displayed regarding all that went on in the charnal factory where the industrialization of death was practiced—where probably 3

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Overview

Rudolf Hoess was the notorious Commandant of Auschwitz. Imprisoned and awaiting execution after the war, Hoess wrote a long memoir, a self- serving account of his life and approaches to management.
The amoral sensibility Hoess displayed regarding all that went on in the charnal factory where the industrialization of death was practiced—where probably 3 million people were literally worked to death, shot or quickly gassed—is still almost beyond belief today.
Jurg Amann has taken Hoess' text and produced a work imaginatively new, always using Hoess' own words; The Commandant is a book Hoess would certainly not have approved—an excruciating insight into Hitler's Final Solution and the nature of evil itself through the prism of the Nazis' totalitarian system, one Hoess and so many others felt no requirement to question. Ian Buruma's introduction sets this frightening work within a both moral and historical context.

Editorial Reviews

Jewish Book World

"Amann, via his editorial craftsmanship, is able to capture an utterly soulless individual whose respect for life and capacity for authentic love were destroyed at a very early age . . . Jurg Amann has done a great service by making Hoess's memoir available to students of the Holocaust but, most importantly, to the young of the current and future generations. The Commandant is a must read for all social scientists and clinicians seeking a graphic and compelling self portrait of the evolution of ideological and bureaucratic sociopathy."

—Jewish Book World
"Amann, via his editorial craftsmanship, is able to capture an utterly soulless individual whose respect for life and capacity for authentic love were destroyed at a very early age . . . Jurg Amann has done a great service by making Hoess's memoir available to students of the Holocaust but, most importantly, to the young of the current and future generations. The Commandant is a must read for all social scientists and clinicians seeking a graphic and compelling self portrait of the evolution of ideological and bureaucratic sociopathy."
From the Publisher
"Its brevity makes it no less stomach churning. The monolog describes Hoess's rise in the SS directly under Heinrich Himmler's tutelage and shows Himmler as the most brutally efficient of functionaries, so vile and so lacking human sensibilities as to be in danger of being rendered as a cartoon character." — –Library Journal

"Amann, via his editorial craftsmanship, is able to capture an utterly soulless individual whose respect for life and capacity for authentic love were destroyed at a very early age . . . Jurg Amann has done a great service by making Hoess's memoir available to students of the Holocaust but, most importantly, to the young of the current and future generations. The Commandant is a must read for all social scientists and clinicians seeking a graphic and compelling self portrait of the evolution of ideological and bureaucratic sociopathy." — Jewish Book World

Library Journal
In this monolog, Swiss playwright and poet Amann distills the 400-plus-page memoir of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Hoess—not to be confused with Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess—published in the United States as Death Dealer, which Hoess wrote after his capture and as he awaited execution in Poland in 1947. Its brevity makes it no less stomach churning. The monolog describes Hoess's rise in the SS directly under Heinrich Himmler's tutelage and shows Himmler as the most brutally efficient of functionaries, so vile and so lacking human sensibilities as to be in danger of being rendered as a cartoon character—for all that, though, he also appears as a midlevel manager. VERDICT In his afterword, journalist Ian Buruma notes that Amman has provided "the right tone of utter bleakness" in this monolog, which was originally conceived as a radio play (no translator is credited). Radio is probably the best way to present this script; it's difficult to imagine a paying audience sitting through a performance. It would be a useful source for acting exercises or as a supplementary text for Holocaust classes.—Larry Schwartz, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Moorhead

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590206775
Publisher:
The Overlook Press
Publication date:
02/16/2012
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
612,918
Product dimensions:
4.50(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Ian Buruma is currently Luce Professor at Bard College. His previous books include God's Dust, Behind the Mask, The Missionary & The Libertine, Playing the Game, The Wages of Guilt, Anglomania, and Bad Elements. He writes frequently for The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and the Financial Times.

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