Death Dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz / Edition 1

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By his own admission, SS Kommandant Rudolf Höss was history's greatest mass murderer, having personally supervised the extermination of approximately two million people, mostly Jews, at the death camp in Auschwitz, Poland. Death Dealer is the first complete translation of Höss' memoirs into English.

These bone-chilling memoirs were written between October 1946 and April 1947. At the suggestion of Professor Sanislaw Batawia, a psychologist, and Professor Jan Shen, the prosecuting attorney for the Polish War Crimes Commission in Warsaw, Höss wrote a lengthy and detailed description of how the camp developed, his impressions of the various personalities with whom he dealt, and even the extermination of millions in the gas chambers. This written testimony is perhaps the most important document attesting to the Holocaust, because it is the only candid, detailed, and (for the most part) honest description of the Final Solution from a high-ranking SS officer intimately involved in carrying out the plans of Hitler and Himmler.

With the cold objectivity of a common hit-man, Höss chronicles the discovery of the most effective poison gas, and the technical obstacles that often thwarted his aim to kill as efficiently as possible. Staring at the horror without reacting, Höss allowed conditions at Auschwitz to reduce human beings to walking skeletons - then he labelled them as subhumans fit only to die. Readers will witness Höss's shallow rationalizations as he tries to balance his deeds with his increasingly disturbed, yet always ineffectual, conscience.

By his own admission, Rudolf Hoss was history's greatest mass murderer, personally supervising the extermination of approximately 2 million people, mostly Jews, at Auschwitz, Poland. This is the first complete translation into English of this cold killer's memoirs. 24-page photo insert.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This first complete English translation of a senior Nazi officer's account of the Final Solution describes in cold, stomach-churning detail the program of genocide as an administrative procedure. Written during the six months before his 1947 execution in Warsaw for ``crimes committed against the Polish people,'' Hoss's memoirs are filled with specific recollections, from his fervently religious boyhood in Mannheim, through a prison term in Liepzig (for having killed a fellow soldier), to marriage and induction into the SS in 1934. Particulars of his roles in the concentration camp system include his ordering of ``the first execution of the war'' at Sachsenhausen in 1938 and his 1941 assignment to establish and manage Auschwitz as ``the largest human killing center in all of history.'' Personal squabbles with other SS leaders are interspersed with chilling descriptions of prison conditions and gassing procedures. This compelling historical document, from which Hoss emerges as a classic model of the bureaucratic middle manager, is expertly edited by Paskuly, a history teacher in New York; Pollinger's translation is seamless. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Library Journal
The man who presided over the expansion and lethal functioning of Auschwitz concentration camp, which surely earned him the distinction of being ``the greatest destroyer of human beings in history,'' left behind this memoir before he was executed by the Poles at the end of World War II. A dedicated bureaucrat, Hoss smothered his feelings and devoted his talents to the killing of millions, even though he ``personally never hated the Jews.'' The work was hard, and he ``was no longer happy at Auschwitz once the mass annihilation began.'' An editorial glossary of terms and personalities enhances the usefulness of this valuable addition to Holocaust studies, a chilling self-portrait of an all-too-typical servant of totalitarianism.-- R.H. Johnston, McMaster Univ., Hamilton, Ontario
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780879757144
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books
  • Publication date: 4/28/1992
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 1
  • Lexile: 1360L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.64 (w) x 8.42 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword 3
Preface 11
Acknowledgments 15
Translator's Note 17
Introduction 19
1 The Final Solution of the Jewish Question in Concentration Camp Auschwitz 27
2 Early Years 48
3 An Early Traumatic Experience 52
4 World War I 54
5 Battles of the Free Corps 60
6 On Trial for Murder 62
7 In Prison 64
8 Insights into the Criminal Mind 67
9 Prison Psychosis 72
10 Model Prisoner 75
11 Freedom 77
12 The Artamans 79
13 Again a Soldier 81
14 The Early Concentration Camps 85
15 The Types of Guards 88
16 Experiences in Sachsenhausen 97
17 Kommandant of Auschwitz 118
18 The Russian Prisoners of War 132
19 The Gypsies 135
20 The Jews 139
21 The Women's Camp 145
22 The Gassings 155
23 Chief of the Department of Inspections of Concentration Camps 165
24 1945-47 178
25 Some Final Thoughts 182
26 Final Letters to His Wife and Children 189
27 Epilogue 196
28 Rules and Regulations for Concentration Camps 209
Purpose of the Camps 209
Organization of the Concentration Camps 209
Camp Punishments 218
Work Deployment 219
The Non-Medical Activities of the SS Doctors in Auschwitz 223
29 Organization Schmelt 229
30 Night and Fog - Meerschaum 326
31 Lebensborn 327
32 Explanation of the Three Concurrent SS Ranks 330
33 SS Tattoos 332
Appendix I Incident at Budy 333
Appendix II Chronology of the Important Events at Auschwitz-Birkenau 336
Appendix III Wannsee Conference Minutes 371
Bibliography 383
Index 387
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 31 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2015

    Important Reading

    In times like these it is vital to see and understand an anatomy of evil and to be able to compare the events of today with an example of a downward spiral in the recent past.

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