Rudolf Höss

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Rudolf Höß as a Defendant in the Trial in Poland (1947)

Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Höß (born November 25, 1901 in Baden-Baden , † April 16, 1947 in Auschwitz ) was a German National Socialist , SS-Obersturmbannführer and from May 1940 to November 1943 commander of the Auschwitz concentration camp . He was sentenced to death by hanging as a war criminal in 1947 and executed at the site of the former main camp .

Life until 1933

Windeckstrasse 29 in Mannheim

Rudolf Höß was born on November 25, 1901 to Catholic parents in Baden-Baden. After moving to Mannheim he attended the Karl-Friedrich-Gymnasium there . His father, the businessman Franz Xaver Höss, wanted, as Höss claims in his autobiography, to become a Catholic priest . After his father's death on May 3, 1914, Höss stayed at school and reportedly volunteered for the army at the age of 15 during the First World War . Höss claims to have served in Turkey , on the front in Mesopotamia and later in Palestine , and to have participated in combat operations against the British Army . At the age of 17, he wants as a sergeant with the Iron Cross I and have been awarded II. Class. His very ornate portrayals in this regard in his autobiography have since been refuted. He cannot be found in any of the main roles in question . After the secondary school in Bühl had not accepted him, he returned to Mannheim in autumn 1915. There he lived with his mother Lina Höß and his siblings on the third floor of Windeckstraße 29 and attended elementary school (Lindenhofschule), which he graduated with good grades in 1916. He then started an apprenticeship. After the death of his mother on April 8, 1917 and three changes of residence, he signed up for the neighboring Friedrichsfeld (now part of Mannheim) on December 31, 1917 .

In 1919 Höß joined the Freikorps Roßbach and took part in battles in the Baltic States , in the Ruhr area and in Upper Silesia . After that he managed to get by as a day laborer at times . The personal defeats he suffered made him consider suicide until he became aware of the NSDAP and joined it in November 1922 ( membership number 3.240). On May 31, 1923, he was involved in the Parchimer Fememord of Walter Kadow, who was suspected of betraying Albert Leo Schlageter to the French and thus responsible for his execution. For fear of being liquidated as a confidante himself, one of those involved reported the murder. Hoess was arrested on March 15, 1924 to ten years in prison convicted. His later sponsor Martin Bormann received a year imprisonment for his role in "Parchimer Fememord". On July 14, 1928, Höß was released due to a general amnesty .

In the following years, Höß was active in agriculture in Ahlen-Vorhelm and, as a leader, belonged to various Nazi associations tailored to the rural population, such as the Association of Artamans . During this time he met Heinrich Himmler for the first time , who was enthusiastic about Höß 'submissiveness and thoroughness, but also by his organizational talent. On August 17, 1929, he married Hedwig Hensel (1908–1989). The marriage had five children between 1930 and 1943: Ingebrigitt, Klaus, Hans-Jürgen, Heidetraut and Annegret.

Activities in the SS

On September 20, 1933, Rudolf Höß joined the Schutzstaffel (SS No. 193.616). In 1934, according to his statement, Himmler asked him to join the Totenkopf SS . From that year he was employed as a block leader and from April 1936 as a report leader in the Dachau concentration camp . In August 1938 he became adjutant to the camp commandant in Sachsenhausen concentration camp and from November 1939 he was a protective custody camp leader there with the rank of SS- Hauptsturmführer . In May 1940 he was transferred to the Auschwitz concentration camp as a camp commandant .

On March 1, 1941, Höß received the order from Himmler to build the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp . In the summer of 1941 he was ordered to see Himmler in Berlin. The latter explained to him that the Führer ordered the “ final solution to the Jewish question ” and that he had to carry out this task. Shortly afterwards Höß was visited by Adolf Eichmann from the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA) in Auschwitz. He gave approximate numbers of the transports and made it clear that only " gas " would come into question for destruction , as the expected masses could not be eliminated by shooting. Incidentally, this is too much of a burden for the SS men because of the women and children - said Eichmann. In the autumn of 1941, the representative of Höß - Hauptsturmführer Karl Fritzsch  - had Soviet prisoners of war gassed with Zyklon B without authorization; At the time, Höss was on a business trip. He agreed on this method with Eichmann. Fritzsch later boasted that he was the inventor of the gas chambers in Auschwitz and that he was the first to successfully use Zyklon B for mass destruction.

Rudolf Höß directed the extermination of Jews in Auschwitz, which began around the turn of the year 1941/1942. These were killed in two farmhouses that were temporarily converted into gas chambers. At the end of 1942, the construction of four large crematoria with gas chambers began, which were used for mass murders from March 1943.

In November 1943, Obergruppenführer Oswald Pohl, as head of the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office (WVHA), divided the central command of the Auschwitz concentration camp. In this context, Höß was entrusted on November 10, 1943 with the management of the business of Office Group D in the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office (WVHA) and was appointed to Berlin. On May 1, 1944, he was appointed head of Office D I in the WVHA.

In May 1944, Oswald Pohl ordered a change in the camp commanders deployed in the Auschwitz concentration camp complex and at the same time appointed Höß as the site elder in Auschwitz. In this function he organized the so-called Hungary Action , the mass murder of Hungarian Jews , and was also involved in training the newly appointed camp commanders Richard Baer (for the main camp ) and Josef Kramer (for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp ). After Höß had left the Auschwitz concentration camp complex again in July 1944, Baer also took on the position of senior officer.

From November 1944 Höß worked in the Ravensbrück concentration camp . His family had also lived in the immediate vicinity of Ravensbrück since the end of 1944. After the completion of the gas chamber in Ravensbrück, he coordinated the mass killings there.

After the end of the war

Attempted escape

In May 1945 Rudolf Höß managed to get over the " Rattenlinie Nord " to Flensburg . While he was accommodating his wife and their five children in St. Michaelisdonn , he created a new identity for himself as a mate in the navy under the name "Franz Lang" and went into hiding as an agricultural assistant on a farm in Gottrupel . There he was tracked down by Hanns Alexander from the War Crimes Investigation Team (WCIT) and arrested by the British military police on March 11, 1946 . When he was arrested, Höss denied being the wanted person, but could be identified by his wedding ring.


British captivity

After his capture Rudolf Höß was repeatedly by the British "92. Field Security Section ”.

On March 14, 1946, Rudolf Höß signed an interrogation protocol in German. This document was eight pages long and was written by Captain William Cross, commander of the “92. Field Security Section ”countersigned. The document number in the later Nuremberg trial of major war criminals is NO-1210. In this document he estimates the number of victims in Auschwitz at 3 million, assuming that 2.5 million were gassed. In making this estimate, he refers to a report by Adolf Eichmann to the Reichsführer SS in April 1945. In his personal memory he still remembered the large mass transports with 250,000 people from Upper Silesia and Poland, 100,000 from Germany and Theresienstadt, 90,000 from Holland, 20,000 from Belgium, 110,000 from France, 65,000 from Greece, 400,000 from Hungary and 90,000 from Slovakia.

Furthermore, Rudolf Höß gave a detailed description of the process of the mass extermination, the capacities of the facilities and other organizational details.

Nuremberg Trial of Major War Criminals

Statutory declaration

On April 1 and 2, 1946, as part of the preparations for his testimony, Rudolf Höß was questioned as a witness in the defense of Ernst Kaltenbrunner at the Nuremberg trial of the main war criminals . The interrogation was carried out by Sender Jaari, an officer of the military intelligence service, with the assistance of two interpreters.

During the interrogation, Höss stated that Heinrich Himmler had commissioned him to plan an extermination camp. He was instructed to visit the Treblinka extermination camp and to solve the problems of the mass extermination in Birkenau. After this visit he wanted to organize the extermination in such a way that the victims would be left absolutely in the dark about the fact that they would be gassed. The gas chambers operated by gasoline engines were too unreliable for him, so Zyklon B was used, which was available in large quantities for disinfestation . Regarding the gassing, he stated that the gassing times depended on the weather and the health of the victims. While the victims were unconscious in moments directly at the throw-in point, this took more than five minutes for more distant victims. Within 15 minutes everyone was safely killed and after half an hour the chambers were opened.

He gave very detailed descriptions of the processes and the chronological processes. He corrected his interviewers several times if they misinterpreted or misunderstood something. Although he admitted the mass murder in full detail without excuses, he completely protested against the accusation that the inmates were deliberately starved to death. He also protested against the fact that, on his orders, the prisoners were subjected to arbitrary excesses of violence. He admitted that there had been excesses of violence; but if he became aware of this, he called those responsible to account.

The statements made by Hoess during interrogation on April 1 and 2 were in an affidavit ( affidavit summarized) in English. This four-page declaration was signed by Höß on April 5, 1946. The document number at the Nuremberg Trial is 3868-PS or US-819.

The declaration itself has been tightened up, many details have been lost and some have been falsified. In particular, the note, which is important in the context of the number of victims in the Auschwitz concentration camp , that the numbers mentioned by Höß come from a report by Eichmann to the Reichsführer SS in April 1945 is not included, although this is clear from the interrogation protocols.


On April 15, 1946, Rudolf Höss testified personally as a witness for the defense. Höß was questioned by Ernst Kaltenbrunner's defense attorney, Kurt Kauffmann, about the condition of the prisoners when the camps were liberated, about mistreatment, about the evacuation of the camps, about secrecy from the population of the surrounding region and about the process of mass killing by gas in Auschwitz. Höss described the process. When Colonel John Amen (Prosecutor for the United States) asked Hoess about mass extermination, reference was only made to affidavit 3868-PS. Amen read out passages from this declaration and asked Höss several times whether this was true. Höß always replied with “Yes!”. This is of Holocaust deniers like interpreted as evidence of a forced statement, deliberately ignoring that Hoess had described already over Kauffmann the process of mass killing by gas. Since Höss had also already cleared up the inconsistencies in the previous interrogations, he confirmed the content in his own way with a brief “Yes!”. According to the reports of the forensic psychologist Gustave M. Gilbert after the statements of Höß, Hermann Göring was depressed because his defense strategy collapsed. Goering had always assumed that the mass murder would not be provable.

Declaration on the number of victims of 2.5 million

Goering had expressed doubts to Gilbert that the killing of 2.5 million people in gas chambers was possible. On April 24, 1946, Höß wrote a handwritten declaration in which he once again described the extermination process in detail. He calculated that in the 27 months (36 months minus a total of 9 months break between the actions) with 3000 victims per day, 2.43 million could be destroyed during this period. This is technically possible. To the best of his knowledge, however, that number seemed far too high. He put the total number of those murdered in larger actions at 1.125 million and therefore estimated the total number of those gassed to be at most 1.5 million. However, he still emphasized that he had to adhere to the figures given by his superior Eichmann.

Nuremberg follow-up trials

Höß 'affidavit and the minutes of his testimony were also used as evidence in the 1947/48 trial against the SS Economic and Administrative Office and in the IG Farben trial .

Charges in Poland


Rudolf Höß during his execution
The gallows on which Rudolf Höß was hanged

According to his testimony in Nuremberg, Höß was extradited to Poland on May 25, 1946, in accordance with the Moscow Declaration of 1943, and charged before the Supreme National Tribunal of Poland . The indictment had been prepared by the examining magistrate Jan Sehn (1909–1965). During the trial in Warsaw from March 11 to 29, 1947, Höss contributed to the clarification of many historical questions through his statements. He allegedly did not understand until the end why he was being held accountable for having only carried out orders. On April 2, 1947, Höss was sentenced to death. The execution took place on April 16, 1947 on the grounds of the Auschwitz concentration camp in front of his former residence with a view of the camp.


While in Polish custody, Höss wrote his autobiography with extensive notes on the events in the Auschwitz concentration camp. He corrected and clarified some statements of his statement. These records are broadly in line with other statements, particularly the report written by Pery Broad in British captivity. His detailed explanations show that he had experienced what happened in his statements and that the interrogators did not put it in his mouth:

“In previous interrogations, I put the number of Jews sent to Auschwitz for extermination at 2.5 million. This number comes from Eichmann, who gave it to my superior, Gruppenführer Glücks , shortly before Berlin was enclosed, when he was ordered to report to the RFSS ... After every major action in Auschwitz, all documents that could provide information about the number of exterminated had to be to be burned according to the RFSS order ... I consider the number 2 1/2 million to be far too high. I never knew the total number myself, and I have no clues to reproduce it. I only remember the numbers of the larger actions that Eichmann or his agent repeatedly mentioned to me. "

- Notes , printed in: Martin Broszat: Commandant in Auschwitz. 14th revised edition. Munich 1994, ISBN 3-423-30127-9 , pp. 251 f.

The total of the major actions mentioned by Höß results in 1.13 million victims. It corresponds to the number of 1.1 to 1.5 million published by the historian Franciszek Piper . The state of research is also shown very well in the details . In this respect, the historical value of Höß 'autobiography is largely secured.


The forensic psychologist Gustave M. Gilbert described Rudolf Höß as mentally normal with a schizoid apathy and numbness. Gilbert described him as patient, matter-of-fact, and dispassionate in conversation. Höß was characterized by his anticipatory conscientiousness and diligence, always in the service of a higher authority. Sadistic tendencies such as those of Amon Göth , the commandant of the Plaszow concentration camp , were not detectable in Höß, a lack of empathy was more likely.

In 1942 Höß had a relationship with the prisoner Nora Mattaliano-Hodys (or: Eleonore Hodys) in Auschwitz. When she was pregnant by him, she was isolated in "commandant arrest". SS judge Konrad Morgen , who was investigating embezzlement in Auschwitz, was convinced that Höß had also ordered stricter conditions in a standing cell and food deprivation in order to kill Hodys and to cover up the relationship. After she was released from detention, an abortion was performed. On the occasion of a confrontation between Höss and Hodys in 1944, Höss denied having known of the more stringent prison conditions. Since the investigation was closed at the behest of Himmler, this issue remained unresolved: At the 1st Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, Konrad Morgen reiterated the accusation that Höss intended to starve the woman.

With regard to the extermination of the Jews, Höss had no ethical concerns. Influenced by the anti-Semitic writings and speeches of Joseph Goebbels , Alfred Rosenberg and Adolf Hitler , he never questioned the legality and necessity of these acts. He didn't think he would ever be held accountable for it. The court psychologist Gilbert asked Höss whether the Jews he had murdered were guilty or had deserved this fate. Thereupon he replied: “Such questions are unrealistic ... we SS men shouldn't think about such things; it didn't even occur to us ”. Hoss was not addressed by clumsy propaganda . He stated that he had rarely read the " striker " because it was too superficial. According to Höss, subordinates who read the "striker" regularly usually had a limited horizon.

According to Martin Broszat , the paradox about Höss was that he was not the sadistic, raw and brutal mass murderer . Rather, he was rather average, petty-bourgeois, by no means malicious, endowed with many secondary virtues such as a love of order, a sense of duty and a closeness to nature. These qualities did not protect him from inhumanity, indifference to the victims and a total obscuration of all morals and ethics. He put his sense of duty and diligence in a perverted way at the service of the mass murderers.

In his autobiographical notes, Höss himself contradicted the portrayal that he had lost his humanity, but placed this behind duty and higher authorities:

“Most of those involved often approached me during my patrols through the extermination sites in order to get rid of their oppression, their impressions of me, in order to be calmed down by me. From their confidential conversations I heard the question over and over again: Is it necessary what we have to do there? Is it necessary that hundreds of thousands of women and children must be destroyed? And I, to whom I asked myself the question innumerable times deeply, had to fob it off with the Fiihrer order and put it off with it. I had to tell them that this annihilation of Judaism was necessary in order to free Germany and our descendants from the toughest adversaries for all time. For all of us the Fuehrer order was firmly established, also that the SS had to carry it out. But doubts gnawed in all. And under no circumstances could I confess my doubts myself. In order to force those involved to persevere psychologically, I had to show myself firmly convinced of the necessity of carrying out this cruel and harsh order. Everyone looked at me. What impression did such scenes as described above make on me, how did I react to them. Thereupon I was watched closely and every statement I made was discussed. I had to pull myself together so as not to let my inner doubts and depressions recognize even in the excitement about what I had just experienced. I had to seem cold and heartless when it came to events that made the heart of anyone who was still human. I couldn't even turn away when all too human emotions rose up in me. I had to watch coldly as the mothers went into the gas chambers with the laughing or crying children. [...] I had to do all of this - because I was the one everyone was looking at, because I had to show everyone that I not only gave the orders and made the arrangements, but that I was also ready to be there myself wherever I was had to ask for who I commanded. "

- Martin Broszat: Commandant in Auschwitz. dtv, Munich 1963, p. 197 ff. (23rd edition. 2011, ISBN 978-3-423-30127-5 )

Reliability of statements and autobiography

Holocaust deniers regularly try to cast doubt on the reliability of the statements and autobiography of Rudolf Höß in order to make the comprehensive admission of his contribution to the Holocaust appear implausible. His explanations in the interrogation protocols and in his autobiography, however, show a continuous storyline, which is repeatedly supplemented by further facets and details. The main plot and the side events are presented with the same great amount of detail. The statements contained in the autobiography are extensively supported by other sources on the Holocaust. This clearly speaks against a fabricated or blackmailed statement.

However, as is often the case with contemporary witnesses, Höss was wrong when giving dates. His account that Himmler had informed him in Berlin in the summer of 1941 that Auschwitz should become the center for the murder of the Jews is dated by historians to 1942.

Excessive violence during the arrest of Höß

Partly based on the book Legions of Death by Rupert Butler, it is claimed that Höss's statements were blackmailed through torture . The book describes that Höß was severely mistreated and under the influence of alcohol when he was arrested. According to the Legions of Death , the perpetrators were the British Jewish sergeant Bernard Clarke and British Jewish sergeants of the arresting squad of the 92nd Field Security Section, whose parents had been murdered on Höß's orders.

"Hoess screamed in terror at the mere sight of British uniforms. Clarke yelled: What is your name? With each answer of "Franz Lang", Clarke's hand crashed into the face of the prisoner. The fourth time that happened, Hoess broke and admitted who he was. The admission suddenly unleashed the loathing of the Jewish sergeants in the arresting party whose parents had died in Auschwitz following an order signed by Hoess. The prisoner was torn from the top bunk, the pajamas ripped from his body. He was then dragged naked to one of the slaughter tables, where it seemed to Clarke the blows and screams were endless. (...) A blanket was thrown over Hoess and he was dragged to Clarke's car, where the sergeant poured a substantial slug of whiskey down his throat. "

- Rupert Butler : Legions of Death. P. 237

He was then arrested and questioned for the next three days. There was no stopping him from speaking and admitted that he was responsible for the deaths of two million people.

"It took three days to get a coherent statement out of him. But once he started talking, there was no holding him. The man who suffered most during the interrogation, however, was not the prisoner but Bernard Clarke. He recalls: (...) It was not due to the strain of events. I could cope with that. But Hoess had repeated with pride the instructions that he had given to prisoners to dig pits in which they where subsequently shot. He revealed how the bodies were ignited and how oozing fat from them was poured over others. He admitted without a trace of remorse that he had been responsible for around two million deaths and that killings had frequently been carried out at the rate of 10,000 a day. "

- Rupert Butler : Legions of Death. P. 237

When the correspondence to his wife and children was censored, Sergeant Bernard Clarke saw two sides of Rudolf Höss: the gentle and loving family man and the brutal commander who did not care about human life. According to Clarke, Höss never tried to deny or relativize his responsibility.

In his autobiography, Rudolf Höß described the circumstances of this "first interrogation":

“My first interrogation took place with conclusive evidence. I don't know what's in the protocol, even though I've signed it. But alcohol and whip were too much for me too. "

- Commandant in Auschwitz. P. 225

Butler's autobiography and book show an excess of violence during the arrest and before the first interrogation, but precisely not that the confession was extorted through torture. On the contrary: Butler describes that Höß testified of his own free will after the mistreatment and could not be stopped. The contents of the autobiography were examined by historian John C. Zimmerman for consistency with other sources of the Holocaust and found to be authentic.

Different numbers of victims

In some cases it is also claimed that Höss had constantly changed his statements regarding the number of victims and that they were therefore made up. First he would speak of 2.5 million victims and then later reduce that to 1.5 million. Already in his first interrogation by the British "92. Field Security Section ”that the figure of 2.5 million came from Adolf Eichmann . In the first interrogation he already stated the larger actions, which totaled 1.13 million. During the further interrogations he questioned the figure of 2.5 million given by Eichmann more and more and made his own estimate of a maximum of 1.5 million.

Interrogation minutes in English

It is also alleged that Höss signed prefabricated interrogation protocols and statements in English, although he did not understand English. These interrogation protocols were slipped on him and he was forced to sign. However, the interrogation protocol NO-1210 is written in German and was signed by Höß. The interrogations about the Nuremberg trial took place in English, but the interviews with Höß were carried out by the translators Piilani Ahuna (court reporter) and Leo Katz. These statements were summarized in an affidavit (3868-PS) in English and signed by Höß. Both the statement on the number of victims, drafted by Höß on April 24, 1946, as well as his autobiography were handwritten in German by Höß.

"Wolzek" concentration camp

Another motif that has been repeatedly taken up by historical revisionists is the "Wolzek concentration camp", which Rudolf Höß mentioned in his testimony. A concentration camp with this name is unknown. This is then used as an argument that Höss simply invented statements under torture. Höss referred to this camp as "Wolzek near Lublin". The interrogation protocol shows that Heinrich Himmler named these camps to him in June 1941:

“… I was ordered to see Himmler in June 1941, where he said roughly the following. The Fuehrer ordered the solution of the Jewish question in Europe. There are in Generalgouvernment already some so-called extermination camps Belzak <sic> in RAVA Ruska eastern Poland, TREBLINKA at Malina the river Bug, and Wolzek near Lublin ... "

- Interrogation protocol of March 14, 1946, p. 2 (Document NO-1210)

When he was interrogated on April 1, 1946, Höß could no longer remember the exact name of the camp, but referred to it as a camp located 40 km east of Kulm (Chełm).

Sender Jaari: What were these extermination camps? Where were they, and what were their names? Rudolf Höss: There were three camps: first, Treblinka, Belzak <sic> near Lemberg and the third one was about 40 kilometers in the direction of Kulm. It was past Kulm in an easterly direction. "

- Interrogation protocol from April 1, 1946

Apart from Treblinka, Hoess had not visited any of these camps, but instead reproduced the names of the camps mentioned when they were interrogated five years later based on information from Himmler from memory. At the Treblinka camp he visited in spring 1942 (the only one that was spelled correctly), he described the extermination process in great detail. In June 1941, the described camps were definitely not yet in operation, but were being planned or under construction.

An explanation for the designation “Wolzek bei Lublin” by Himmler can be obtained by driving to the camp: If you drive east from Chełm (east of Lublin), you will find the small town of Włodawa to the north-east . In front of it is the place Sobibór and about 5 km before that the village Wołczyny. Shortly after the village of Wołczyny you turn west and after 3 km you reach the extermination camp Sobibor . The village of Sobibor will not be crossed on this route. The last place before the Sobibor extermination camp is Wołczyny village.

Himmler was obviously referring to the Sobibor extermination camp. The village Wołczyny was probably called Wolzek in German, or Höss remembered it that way ( map ). In none of these cases is the "Wolzek" camp mentioned by Himmler proof that Höß was tortured and invented a concentration camp.


In 1952, the French writer Robert Merle published the biographical novel “ La mort est mon métier ” (title translated into German: “ Death is my job ”), which was based on the interrogation protocols from the war crimes trial against Rudolf Höss and on his autobiographical notes his imprisonment after World War II . The author used the surname Lang , which Höss had used on his escape in 1945, for the narrator of the novel, which was written in the first person. In 1977 this novel was made into a film under the direction of Theodor Kotulla in the West German feature film “ From a German Life ”. The portrayal of the life episodes of the main character Franz Lang (portrayed by Götz George ) essentially coincides with those in the biography of Höß.

Rudolf Höß, played by Joel Basman , is also one of the protagonists of the documentary drama series War of Dreams from 2018, which thematizes Europe in the interwar period .

The grandson Rainer Höß, born in 1965, published an autobiographical report in 2013 about how he only realized as a young adult about his grandfather, whom he was always portrayed as a decent soldier in his childhood.


There are the following ego documents for the Höß biography:

  • Höss' statements for and in the Nuremberg trials against Ernst Kaltenbrunner , Oswald Pohl & IG Farben : IMG declaration of April 5, 1946 Volume 23, PS 3868; online see note on the above section "Affidavit" - statement in the process April 15, 1946 IMG Volume 11, p. 438ff.
  • His interrogation by the British 92nd Field Security Section 13./14. March 1946, protocol, Nürnbg. Doc. NO-1210
  • The minutes of the interrogations 14. – 22. May 1946, Nürnbg. Doc.NI-035/037 and NI-039/041
  • His so-called memoirs, which were published in excerpts by Broszat (see lit.) and a copy of the original in Poland is in the Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ).
    • Full print in Polish: Wspomnienia Rudolfa Hoessa, Komendanta Obozu Oświęcimskiego. Warsaw 1956.
    • Other foreign-language editions include Some of the texts that cannot be found in the German version.
  • The interrogation by Judge Jan Sehn in German in Poland in 1947, signed by RH. Holdings: State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau
  • Jadwiga Bezwińska, Danuta Czech (selection of texts & editing of the note): KL Auschwitz in the eyes of the SS. Statements by Höss, Pery Broad and Johann Paul Kremer . State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau 1973; again Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza, Katowice 1981; again Interpress, Warsaw 1992, ISBN 83-85047-35-2 & ISBN 83-223-2496-0 .


  1. Structure and structure of the camp.
  2. The prisoners: living conditions, work and death.
  3. Destruction.
  4. Resistance.
  5. Epilogue.
  • Andrzej Gass: Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss on the gallows. In: Focus Historia. 1/2007 of April 24, 2007, with photographs by Stanisław Dąbrowiecki, 1947.
  • Gustave Mark Gilbert : Nuremberg Diary. Conversations between the accused and the forensic psychologist. (Series: The time of National Socialism). Translated by Margaret Carroux et al. Fischer Bücherei, Frankfurt 1952, first published in France and the USA in 1947 as The Nuremberg Diary.
  • Thomas Harding : Hanns and Rudolf. The German Jew and the Hunt for the Commander of Auschwitz . Translated from the English by Michael Schwelien. dtv, Munich, 2014.
  • Rudolf Höss; Martin Broszat (Out & In): Commander in Auschwitz. DVA 1958; last 20th edition. dtv , Munich 2006, ISBN 3-423-30127-9 .
  • Volker Koop : Rudolf Höß. The commandant of Auschwitz. A biography. Böhlau Verlag, Cologne / Weimar / Vienna 2014, ISBN 978-3-412-22353-3 .
  • Jan Erik Schulte : Forced Labor and Extermination: The Economic Empire of the SS. Oswald Pohl and the SS Economic Administration Main Office 1933–1945. Schöningh, Paderborn et al. 2001, ISBN 3-506-78245-2 .
  • Tom Segev : The Soldiers of Evil. On the history of the concentration camp commanders. Rowohlt, Reinbek near Hamburg 1992, ISBN 3-499-18826-0 .
  • Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum : files on the Höss trial in the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. Volume 23.
  • Harald Welzer : Toughness and role distance. On the social psychology of administrative mass murder. In: Leviathan. 21/1993, pp. 358-373.

Web links

Commons : Rudolf Höß  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  1. The year of birth 1901 is not only evident from the birth certificate of the Baden-Baden registry office or the marriage certificate in the family register dated August 17, 1929. It can also be found in all student lists and in the registration data in Mannheim. In a raid in Schwerin in 1923 and in the Parchimer Trial in 1924 as well as in all later résumés, including Höß 'handwritten résumé from 1936, he claims to be born in 1900. As a “white year” he would not have been used for military service, which is why he gave 1900 as the year of birth in order to make his involvement in the First World War more credible. Evidence from Wilhelm Kreutz, Karen Strobel: The commandant and the Bible researcher: Rudolf Höß and Sophie Stippel. Two ways to Auschwitz (= MARCHIVUM 1 series). Mannheim 2018, p. 27 ff.
  2. ^ Wilhelm Kreutz / Karen Strobel: The commandant and the Bible researcher. Rudolf Höß and Sophie Stippel. Two ways to Auschwitz (=  Ulrich Niess [Hrsg.]: MARCHIVUM series of publications . Volume 1 ). Freundeskreis MARCHIVUM, Mannheim 2018, ISBN 978-3-9817924-5-4 , p. 46 .
  3. ^ Wilhelm Kreutz / Karen Strobel: The commandant and the Bible researcher. Rudolf Höß and Sophie Stippel. Two ways to Auschwitz (=  Ulrich Niess [Hrsg.]: MARCHIVUM series of publications . Volume 1 ). Freundeskreis MARCHIVUM, Mannheim 2018, ISBN 978-3-9817924-5-4 , p. 69-75 .
  4. ^ Wilhelm Kreutz / Karen Strobel: The commandant and the Bible researcher. Rudolf Höß and Sophie Stippel. Two ways to Auschwitz (=  Ulrich Niess [Hrsg.]: MARCHIVUM series of publications . Volume 1 ). Freundeskreis MARCHIVUM, Mannheim 2018, ISBN 978-3-9817924-5-4 , p. 47 f .
  5. ^ Wilhelm Kreutz / Karen Strobel: The commandant and the Bible researcher. Rudolf Höß and Sophie Stippel. Two ways to Auschwitz (=  Ulrich Niess [Hrsg.]: MARCHIVUM series of publications . Volume 1 ). Freundeskreis MARCHIVUM, Mannheim 2018, ISBN 978-3-9817924-5-4 , p. 51 f .
  6. Mario Niemann : The Trial against Martin Bormann and Rudolf Höß Germany 1932 Lexicon of Political Criminal Trials, March 2016, accessed on November 5, 2019.
  7. Martin Broszat (ed.): Commandant in Auschwitz. Munich 1963, p. 159 / Footnote entry: Nuremberg documents NO-1948.
  8. Karin Orth: The system of the National Socialist concentration camps. , Hamburg 2002, p. 256f.
  9. Karin Orth: The Concentration Camp SS , Munich 2004, p. 247
  10. ^ Stefan Hördler: Order and Inferno. The concentration camp system in the last year of the war . Göttingen 2015, pp. 165 and 171 f.
  11. ^ A b Bernd Philipsen: How Rudolf Höss was arrested in SH. In: Flensburger Tageblatt of October 5, 2014 (accessed October 6, 2014).
  12. Oliver Diedrich: "He caught the pig from Auschwitz" NDR , March 11, 2016
  13. ^ Richard Sonnenfeldt: Witness to Nuremberg. Arcade Publishing, 2006, ISBN 1-55970-816-6 , p. 64.
  14. Minutes of the hearing of Höß on April 1 and 2, 1946. ( Memento from September 6, 2012 in the web archive )
  15. ^ Affidavit dated April 5, 1946. Document 3868-PS
  16. One hundred and eight days. Monday, April 15, 1946 morning session. , accessed November 6, 2019.
  17. ^ Hoess' declaration of April 24, 1946. In: Gustave M. Gilbert: Nürnberger Tagebuch. Fischer TB, Frankfurt 1962, pp. 448-450. (11th edition. 2001, ISBN 3-596-21885-3 )
  18. Kevin Jon Heller: The Nuremberg Military Tribunals and the Origins of International Criminal Law. Oxford University Press 2011, p. 149 (English)
  19. ^ Igal Avidan: Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Höß: Recognized on the wedding ring, Süddeutsche Zeitung , October 1, 2014
  20. Höss autobiography. In: Der Spiegel. 48/1958, December 3, 1958.
  21. ^ Rudolf Höß on Auschwitz SWR , April 29, 2019
  22. Broszat expressly notes that the figures given by Höß in the following do not represent “any reliable basis”.
  23. a b Gustave M. Gilbert: Nürnberger Tagebuch. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main, 1962, p. 253. (5th edition, 1982, ISBN 3-596-21885-3 )
  24. ^ Martin Broszat: Commandant in Auschwitz. dtv, Munich 1963, p. 13. (20th edition, 2006, ISBN 3-423-30127-9 )
  25. For the background see Hermann Langbehn: People in Auschwitz. Pp. 411-413. (closely)
  26. a b Herlinde Pauer-Studer, J. David Velleman: Rudolf Höss and Eleonore Hodys . In: Konrad Morgen . Palgrave Macmillan UK, London 2015, ISBN 978-1-349-50504-3 , pp. 112–114 , doi : 10.1057 / 9781137496959_17 ( [accessed July 23, 2018]).
  27. Excerpt from Hody's presentation (English version) in Dachau Liberated , especially p. 89.
  28. ^ DVD: The Auschwitz Trial. Tape recordings, minutes and documents. Published by the Fritz Bauer Institute and the Auschwitz State Museum, Wiesbaden, 2nd revised and improved edition, Directmedia Publishing, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-89853-607-3 , (25th day of the negotiation: March 9, 1964), p. 5588.
  29. after Martin Broszat: Commandant in Auschwitz. dtv, Munich 1963, p. 19. (20th edition. 2006, ISBN 3-423-30127-9 )
  30. Martin Broszat (ed.): Commandant in Auschwitz - autobiographical records of Rudolf Höß. 20th edition. dtv, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-423-30127-9 , p. 237.
  31. ^ Robert Jan van Pelt: Auschwitz. In: Günther Morsch, Bertrand Perz: New studies on National Socialist mass killings by poison gas. Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-940938-99-2 , p. 199 / see Karin Orth: Rudolf Höß and the 'Final Solution of the Jewish Question'. Three arguments against dating to the summer of 1941. In: Werkstatt Geschichte. 18 (1997), p. 57.
  32. ^ John C. Zimmerman: How Reliable are the Hoess Memoirs? ( Memento April 29, 2012 on WebCite ) Website of the Holocaust History Project. 1998.
  33. Interrogation protocol of March 14, 1946 (Document NO-1210)
  34. Jamie McCarthy: The Wolzek Paradox. ( Memento from April 21, 2012 on WebCite )
  35. ^ Rainer Hoess, Petra cut, Jörn Voss: The legacy of the commandant. Belleville, Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-943157-13-0 .
  36. Philipp Maußhardt : The burden of a name. In: TAZ . May 17, 2014, p. 28.
  37. ^ Also in: Herbert Kraus (Ed.): The judgment of Nuremberg 1946. dtv, Munich 1961 u. ö., most recently 1996, ISBN 3-423-02902-1 .
  38. F13 / 1-8; In addition to this autobiography, RH wrote short notes on specific subjects or people, e.g. B. to Eichmann and Himmler, the gasification process u. Ä., also in the IfZ in copy. The essential statements from it, in particular about the commissioning by Himmler and the specific course of the gassing process, can also be found in: Hans Günther Adler , Hermann Langbein , Ella Lingens-Reiner (eds.): Auschwitz. Certificates & reports. 2nd rev. Edition. EVA , Cologne 1979, ISBN 3-434-00411-4 , pp. 47-53 with notes, pp. 289f .; dsb. about the women's camp, p. 91.
  39. can only be determined in detail by synopsis of the versions
  40. contains statements that do not appear in the other sources; Here, too, Höss was noticeably informative. The interrogation took place in German, its minutes were drawn up in Polish for judicial purposes, of which the German version was for the accused, and in this form he signed it as correct. Information from the Inst. F. Contemporary Munich.
  41. 1973 & 1981: with 332 pages; 1992: with 247 pages; also in English. French and Polish translated
  42. In Polish. The monthly magazine Focus Historia published photos of the execution of the camp commandant of Auschwitz Rudolf Hoess on the camp grounds in April 1947. Link at
  43. Broszat in the introduction: whose most important part ... is published here. So a selection. For handwriting Original (as a copy) see above, sources. As print, 50 issues worldwide in many languages. German & English readable online at internet booksellers.
  44. Werner Renz: Review of: Volker Koop, Rudolf Höß. The commandant of Auschwitz. A biography. in: insight. Bulletin of the Fritz Bauer Institute, 2015, 13, pp. 71–72.
  45. To the opening of the procedure.