The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/h/hoess.rudolf.ferdinand/hoess.intro.02

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism,soc.history
Subject: Holocaust Almanac - The Memoirs of Rudolf Ho"ss - Authentic?
Summary: The editor of "Death Dealer," the memoirs of Rudolf Ho"ff, the
         Kommandant of the Auschwitz death camp, speaks in response to 
         those who would claim the memoirs are not authentic.
Followup-To: soc.history
Organization: The Old Frog's Almanac, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: Auschwitz,Ho"ss

Archive/File: people/h/hoess.rudolf.ferdinand hoess.intro.02
Last-modified: 1993/09/23 
XRef: index holocaust/auschwitz
      holocaust/auschwitz auschwitz.faq1
      holocaust/auschwitz auschwitz.faq2

The text which follows constitutes the second half of Steven Paskuly's
introduction to the Ho"ss memoirs, which he edited. (Those who would like to
consider the entire introduction are invited to send the following message
comments deal specifically with charges that the Ho"ss memoirs are either
fakes, or were extracted under duress or torture. 

The Ho"ss memoirs have always been a thorn in the side of Holocaust denial,
which is precisely why we should give them serious consideration, in my
opinion.  The evidence they present is damning in the extreme, and cannot be
denied by reasonable men.

Note that Paskuly speaks frankly about the British treatment of Ho"ss - that
is gratifying and significant, since it is a point often raised by the IHR
and other apologists for the "Final Solution to the Jewish Problem." What
the denial set carefully neglects to mention, for reasons which should be
obvious to dispassionate observers, forms the basis for this initial

   "Just after his capture in 1946, the British Security Police were able
   to extract a statement from Ho"ss by beating him and filling him with
   liquor.  Ho"ss states in his autobiography that he doesn't remember
   what was in that statement.  It does not differ in any great degree
   from the section entitled, 'The Final Solution to the Jewish Question
   in KL Auschwitz.' The later section, however, does contain more
   detail than the original forced statement to the British interrogators.  

   There are fanatical groups in the United States, France, and even
   Australia who call themselves 'The Revisionist Historians.' They
   actually propose that Ho"ss never wrote these documents--that they
   are a fraud.  They also state that even if the documents were written
   by Ho"ss, they were obviously done under duress from the 'Communist
   authorities' in Poland.  

   The 'research' and the conclusions of these 'historians' are absolute
   rubbish.  The documents written in Poland, the personal interviews
   given to psychiatrist G.  Martin Gilbert during the Nuremberg trials,
   and Rudolf Ho"ss's blunt testimony during the trial itself are
   consistent with each other to such a degree that we can safely
   believe that the memoirs written in Poland are an elaboration of the
   Nuremberg testimony containing much more detail.  The documents in
   Death Dealer are consistent with other statements made by SS Corporal
   Pery Broad and the diary of SS Dr.  Kremer, who also were at
   Auschwitz, and with personal accounts by prisoners in the essential
   facts.  They differ only when Hoss attempts to recall exact dates and
   numbers of prisoners.  They also differ when Ho"ss writes about his
   part in the Final Solution.  Ho"ss maintains that he was only
   following orders and being a good Nazi, and that he did this with no
   thought or regard to moral consequences because "Befehl ist
   Befehl" -- "orders are orders," therefore, they must be followed.  It
   is only at the end of his autobiography, written almost two years
   after the war ended, that the moral implications of what Ho"ss did
   occurred to him and began to affect him consciously.  The two final
   letters to his wife and his children reveal the heavy burden of guilt
   that he was experiencing.  Where Ho"ss does consciously lie is in
   regard to his wife, Hedwig, and her knowledge of the mass killings,
   in order to protect her and their children from the inevitable
   postwar stigma and finger-pointing.  This is evident by examining the
   statements made to psychiatrist Gilbert in 1945 and his last
   statements in 1947.  Ho"ss revealed to Gilbert that one day at a
   party hosted at the Ho"ss villa, his wife overheard comments made by
   the Gauleiter of Silesia, Fritz Bracht, about the mass gassings
   occurring at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  Later that evening in their
   bedroom, she questioned him about what she had heard.  Ho"ss told
   Gilbert that he answered his wife's questions.  He said that this was
   the only time he broke Himmler's order about absolute secrecy and
   discussed the Final Solution with anyone.  Only Ho"ss and his wife
   know what took place that evening and what the contents of the
   conversation were.  Thereafter, Frau Ho"ss refused to sleep in the
   same bed with her husband "and physical intimacy between the couple
   was rare.  They became emotionally estranged from each other." 

   Kommandant Ho"ss also pleads that he personally was unable to stop
   the brutality at Auschwitz-Birkenau because his staff officers often
   went against his orders.  The truth is that he did nothing to prevent
   it.  When SS Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Liebehenschel became
   Kommandant of Auschwitz after Ho"ss's promotion, he ordered all the
   SS and the Kapos in charge of prisoners to stop the random beatings.
   Some Kapos thought that he was joking and continued this practice.
   When Liebehenschel found out, he demoted them to ordinary prisoners
   and they were put in a work Kommando where they had to do physical
   labor.  The beatings at Auschwitz stopped.  Therefore, the truth is
   that Ho"ss allowed the beatings and the terror to continue because it
   served his purpose of maintaining camp discipline in the tradition
   of Theodore Eicke.  Although Ho"ss writes negatively about the
   punishments Eicke inflicted on the prisoners, he fails to mention
   that the camp regulations and punishments were formulated by Ho"ss
   himself.  He also fails to mention the executions of prisoners found
   after escaping, or the "Stehbunker," a punishment cell about three
   feet square in which prisoners could only stand or crouch and into
   which one to five prisoners were crammed with no food, no water, no
   light, and only the air that filtered through the cracks in the
   closed wooden door at floor level.  The reader need only compare what
   Ho"ss wrote to the chronology at the back of this book to see where
   Ho"ss tries to protect himself.  Ho"ss also hides the fact that he
   and his family never had to sacrifice their wants or needs because of
   the enormous treasure of food and clothing that the trainloads of
   Jews brought to Auschwitz.  In the midst of starvation, disease, and
   death the Ho"ss family had everything.  "Paradise" is what Frau Ho"ss
   called Auschwitz.  Even after her husband was promoted to Berlin,
   Frau Ho"ss stayed in her villa at Auschwitz.  

   Despite these and other omissions, the Ho"ss memoirs are remarkable
   in their graphic portrayal of many of the events at Auschwitz.
   Ho"ss's descriptions of the entire gassing procedure leave one
   shaking one's head and wondering how he could retell (and in many
   cases psychologically relive) these gruesome stories, especially
   since he was the cause of it all.  Ho"ss acknowledges his part and
   simply states, "History will mark me as the greatest mass murderer of
   all time." He never denies that he is, but simply attempts to report
   that, in spite of everything, "I still had a heart." 

   There is no doubt that from the very beginning of his capture Ho"ss
   realized that he would be executed.  He states this in his
   autobiography.  Therefore, no serious argument can be made that Ho"ss
   concocted the gassing stories to help the Allies find the major Nazi
   war criminals guilty, as some claim."  (Paskuly, 19-22)

                              Work Cited

Paskuly, Steven J., Ed. Death Dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at
Auschwitz, by Rudolph Ho"ss. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books, 1992

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