Hanns and Rudolf

16 May 2024 | ~1 minute read

Hanns and Rudolf book cover

✍️ Written by: Thomas Harding
🏷️ Genre: Non-fiction
🗓️ Published: 03 September 2013
📄 Pages: 384
🧐 My rating: ★★★★☆ (4 stars)

Hanns Alexander was the son of a prosperous German family who fled Berlin for London in the 1930s, becoming an investigator of war crimes.

Rudolf Höss was a farmer and soldier who became the Kommandant of Auschwitz Concentration Camp and oversaw the deaths of over a million men, women and children. The hunt was on.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the first British War Crimes Investigation Team is assembled to hunt down the senior Nazi officials responsible for the greatest atrocities the world has ever seen. Lieutenant Hanns Alexander is one of the lead investigators, Rudolf Höss his most elusive target.

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Really enjoyed this one. It was fascinating and morbid in equal measure. The detail that Harding shares of around the holocaust and what the Jews went through is bone chilling.

I knew about the holocaust and the concentration camps, of course, but I didn't know the details of how the camps when from inception, to ultimately murdering millions of Jews. Using Höss' diaries, Harding is able to give a unique insight to how this occurred.

The lion's share of the book focusses on the background of Höss and Alexander, and how their stories ultimately converge, which I liked as it gave an insight into Höss' mind and how he ended up doing what he did.

The irony of Höss being caught by a German Jew is very satisfying, I must say.

Overall, a very thought provoking and powerful book.

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