Hanns and Rudolf

Hanns and Rudolf

The True Story of the German Jew Who Tracked Down and Caught the Kommandant of Auschwitz

Book - 2013
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May 1945. In the aftermath of the Second Word 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. One of the lead investigators is Lieutenant Hanns Alexander, a German Jew serving in the British Army. Rudolf Höss is his most elusive target. As Kommandant of Auschwitz, Hoss not only oversaw the murder of more than one million men, women, and children; he was the man who perfected Hitler's program of mass extermination. This is the story of two German men whose lives diverged, and intersected, in an astonishing way.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2013
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476711843
Branch Call Number: D805.5.A96 H38 2013x
940.5318 H263h
Characteristics: xix, 348 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm


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Oct 03, 2016

Hanns Alexander is a British soldier, a German refugee, tasked with helping track down German war criminals at the end of World War II. One of them is Rudolf Höss.

Reads like a thriller. Read this earlier Harding book after his new 'The House by the Lake: One House, Five Families, and A Hundred Years of German History.'

Aug 23, 2015

A family narrative in extraordinary times illustrating the banality of evil.

Oct 11, 2014

A psychological thriller -about developing of minds. Hanns moves from wealth to struggle, but he knows where he stands. Rudolf begins as a country loving youth with a great need to please, and a few things go wrong (don't want to give out spoilers). The minds and the events make for a gripping tale, and an unforgettable learning experience.

voisjoe1 May 22, 2014

The author, Thomas Hardy, learns at his great uncle Hanns Alexander’s Jewish funeral that he was not only a victim of Hitler’s anti-semitism but also a great hunter of Nazi holocaust criminals. Hardy, being a journalist and a documentary filmmaker, decides a little investigation of the hunter (Hanns) and the hunted (one who is Rudolf)might just be a good subject for a book, especially since he has a head start being he might just be able to get info from his older relatives and relative’s friends. This true chronicle reads like the best fictional thriller, yet it amazingly is all true. It follows the two men from birth until death and we learn 1) what background might just lead to a person to become a genocidal maniac, and 2) one of those Jewish men who decide to fight back.

Mar 29, 2014

A truly absorbing telling of the history of two men. One the commandant of Auschwitz, the other a Jew who had escaped Germany to England before the war, and served remarkably as an interpreter towards the end of WWII, but more importantly led the ultimately successful search for the first. The book reads like a novel, but unfortunately every word is true. I would recommend it to all, so that mankind can never forget the brutality that humans can bring about.

Feb 07, 2014

Excellent true story of the author's uncle, which was only uncovered by the author (a British-born journalist) after the uncle's death. These kinds of heroic acts need to be remembered. They have a place in our current society and our collective memory. They act as an antidote to some of the so-called 'celebrity' headlines we see so often today, which feature extremes of self-absorption and destructive behavior. Human beings, both male and female, are able, under extremely horrifying and life-threatening conditions, to rise to the occasion and commit acts of valor without regard for personal benefit or safety. As a society, we need to honor these people.


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May 09, 2014

... under Rudolf's watchful eye, the mechanism for mass murder was created.

May 09, 2014

The British government was uncertain about how to deal with applications from newly arrived German refugees.

May 09, 2014

I had been given an order. I had to obey it.

May 06, 2014

Rudolf concluded that those running the camps were failing to use prison labor effectively in support of the war effort.


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