Hanns and Rudolf: The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz
Hanns Alexander was the son of a prosperous German family who fled Berlin for London in the 1930s. Rudolf Hoss 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. 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 Hoss his most elusive target. In this book Thomas Harding reveals for the very first time the full, exhilarating account of Hoss' capture. Moving from the Middle-Eastern campaigns of the First World War to bohemian Berlin in the 1920s, to the horror of the concentration camps and the trials in Belsen and Nuremberg, it tells the story of two German men whose lives diverged, and intersected, in an astonishing way.
The extraordinary untold story of the Jewish investigator who pursued and captured one of Nazi Germany's most notorious war criminals.
"This important and moving book describes the unlikely intersection of two very different lives - that of Hanns Alexander, the son of a prosperous German family in Berlin who became a refugee in London in the 1930s, and Rudolf Hoss, the Kommandant of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Well-researched and grippingly written it provides a unique insight into the fate of Germany under National Socialism." -- Antony Polonsky, Albert Abramson Professor Of Holocaust Studies At The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum And Brandeis University "Thomas Harding has written a book of two intersecting lives: His great uncle, a German Jew and potential Nazi victim, and Rudolf Hoss, Kommandant of Auschwitz. In a neat historical irony, his uncle became a British officer who tracked down war criminals, including one of the world's worst mass murderers. A fascinating account, with chunks of new information, about one of history's darkest chapters." -- Richard Breitman, Author Of The Architect Of Genocide: Himmler And The Final Solution And Editor-In-Chief Of The U.S. Holocaust Museum's Holocaust And Genocide Studies "A remarkable book: thoughtful, compelling and quite devastating in its humanity. Thomas Harding's account of these two extraordinary men goes straight to the dark heart of Nazi Germany." -- Keith Lowe, Author Of Savage Continent: Europe In The Aftermath Of World War II "In this electrifying account, Thomas Harding commemorates (and, for the tired, revivifies) a ringing Biblical injunction: Justice, justice, shalt thou pursue." -- Cynthia Ozick "This fascinating book, based on the gripping story of one man's unrelenting pursuit of Rudolf Hoss in his search for justice, confirms my belief that much of the most important knowledge of the Holocaust, comes from the personal accounts of those involved. Hanns and Rudolf vividly brings to life, not only the impact of Hitler's anti-Semitic policies on the author's German Jewish family, forced to flee Berlin in the 1930s; but shows how an ordinary German farmer became one of the most feared and notorious war criminals in history, implementing with chilling efficiency the extermination of over a million Jews in Auschwitz. As awareness of the full horror of these dark years continues to advance, this book fills a unique and vital role." -- Lyn Smith, Author Of Heroes Of The Holocaust
Thomas Harding is a former documentary filmmaker and journalist who has written for the Financial Times and the Guardian, among other publications. He founded a television station in Oxford, England, and for many years was an award-winning publisher of a newspaper in West Virginia. He lives in Hampshire, England.