Rudolf Hoess, the commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, is hanged next to the crematorium at the camp, 1947

Rudolf Haus (Rudolf Haus) was the architect and commandant of the largest assassination center ever built, the death camp Auschwitz, whose name has come to symbolize humanity's final descent into evil.

On 1 May 1940, Hoss was appointed commandant of a prison camp in western Poland. The camp was built around an old Austro-Hungarian (and later Polish) army barracks near the town of Oswiim; Its German name was Auschwitz. Haus commanded the camp for three and a half years, during which he expanded the original facility into a vast complex, known as the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

After visiting the extermination camp at Treblinka to study his methods of human destruction, starting on 3 September 1941, Hoss tested and perfected the techniques of mass murder that made Auschwitz the most efficient killer of the final solution. equipment made.

He improved the methods at Treblinka by building gas chambers ten times larger, so that they could kill 2,000 people at once instead of 200.

He commented: "At yet another improvement we made at Treblinka was that the victims in Treblinka almost always knew they were to be destroyed and at Auschwitz we attempted to fool the victims into thinking they had to go through a deceptive process. Is".

Hoss experimented with different methods of gassing. According to Eichmann's trial testimony in 1961, Hoss told him that he had used cotton filters soaked in sulfuric acid in the initial murders.

He later introduced hydrogen cyanide (prussic acid), which originated from the insecticide Zyklon B. With the Zyklon B, he said it took 3-15 minutes for the victims to die and that "we knew when people were dead because they stopped screaming".

In the final days of the war, Himmler advised Haus to disguise himself among German naval personnel. He evaded arrest for almost a year.

When he was captured by British troops on 11 March 1946, he was disguised as a farmer and called himself Franz Lang. His wife had asked the British where he could be found, fearing that her son Klaus would be deported to the Soviet Union, where she feared he would be imprisoned or tortured. After interrogation and beating (Hos's captors were well aware of his crimes), Hoss confesses his true identity.

During his trial in Poland, he never denied that he had committed a crime, arguing that he was merely following orders. He had no illusions about the fate that awaited him.

By the end, Haus argued, at most half a million people had died in Auschwitz, not 5 or 6 million. At the end of the trial, he requested the court to allow his wife to send his wedding ring. Hoss was sentenced to death on 2 April 1947.

The sentence was carried out immediately on 16 April near the crematorium of the former Auschwitz I concentration camp. The gallows was built specifically for that purpose, on the site of the Camp Gestapo.

Rudolf Hoss was dismissed on time at 10 am. He was calm. With vigorous steps, almost stuttering, he went on the road to the main camp. Since his hands were handcuffed behind his back, the executioners had to help him climb the stool above the trap door. A priest, whose presence was requested by the condemned, approached the gallows.

A prosecutor read the sentence. The executioner placed the noose on Hos's neck, and Hos adjusted it with a movement of his head.

When the executioner removed the excrement from under the former commandant, his body hit the trap door, which opened, leaving Hose hanging. The priest started praying for the dying. At 10:08 am a doctor declared Hoss dead at 10:21 am. His remains were probably cremated.

How was Rudolf Haus caught?

The British forces that captured Hoss were led by Hans Alexander, a young Jewish man from Berlin who was forced to flee to England with his entire family during the rise of Nazi Germany.

At first, Hos denies her identity, until Alexander notices her wedding ring and demands that she remove it from his finger so that Alexander can examine it.

Hos refused, saying that it stuck until Alexander threatened to cut off his finger. Hoss handed over the ring, which was soon discovered by Alexander, containing the names Rudolf and Hedwig.

After discussions with Hoss during the Nuremberg trials, in which he testified, American military psychologist Gustav Gilbert wrote the following: "Of all the discussions, Hoss is quite factual and indifferent, showing some late interest in the enormity of his crimes, But it gives the impression that it would never have happened to him if no one had asked him.

There is too much indifference to let go of any suggestion of remorse and even the prospect of hanging doesn't stress him out unnecessarily. One gets the general impression of a person who is intellectually normal, but with schizoid apathy, insensitivity, and a lack of empathy that could hardly be more extreme in an apparent psychopath".

The photographs of the hanging were taken on April 16, 1947 by a press photographer, Stanisaw Debrovicki. They were kept secret for several decades in communist Poland. The negative was kept in a safe at the Ministry of Justice, but disappeared at some unknown time. Only 11 prints are left.

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