Rudolf Hoess was history's greatest mass murderer, the
architect and SS Kommandant 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.
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 ...
Rudolf 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, 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."