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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WINNER OF THE WINGATE PRIZE

The untold story of the man who brought a mastermind of the final solution to justice.

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 who is now serving in the British Army. Rudolf Höss is his most elusive target. As Kommandant of Auschwitz, Höss 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. Höss is on the run across a continent in ruins, the one man whose testimony can ensure justice at Nuremberg.

Hanns and Rudolf reveals for the very first time the full, exhilarating account of Höss's capture, an encounter with repercussions that echo to this day. 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- one Jewish, one Catholic- whose lives diverged, and intersected, in an astonishing way.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2013
Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781476711843
1476711844
Characteristics: xix, 348 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm

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EmilyEm
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.'

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uncommonreader
Aug 23, 2015

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

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Rock_Shadow
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.

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fjvalentin
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.

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ownedbydoxies
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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SEBoiko
May 09, 2014

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

s
SEBoiko
May 09, 2014

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

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SEBoiko
May 09, 2014

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

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SEBoiko
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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