WINNER OF THE WINGATE PRIZE
The “compelling,” untold story of the man who brought one of Nazi Germany’s most notorious war criminals to justice—“fascinates and shocks” (The Washington Post).
May 1945. 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. 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 World War I 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. This is “one of those true stories that illuminates a small justice in the aftermath of the Holocaust, an event so huge and heinous that there can be no ultimate justice” (New York Daily News).
Rudolf H ss (1900 1947), the coldly efficient lapsed-Catholic commandant of Auschwitz, the Third Reich s most notorious killing machine, oversaw the murder of more than a million men, women, and children. Hanns Alexander (1917 2006) was a German Jewish migr in the service of the British Army dead-set on hunting down Rudolf (throughout the book, Harding refers to them by their first names in order to humanize them) and bringing him to justice. In this gripping biography-based history, Harding, a former documentary filmmaker and journalist, profiles both men in chronological alternating chapters, starting with their births and childhoods, moving on to their experiences in WWII, and concluding when Hanns and Rudolf finally come face to face on a farm where the war criminal had been desperately trying to elude his pursuers. Rudolf emerges as a loyal, workaholic, career Nazi who, upon his capture, is chillingly candid about his role in the Final Solution, and readers will revel in Hanns s admirable determination to avenge the deaths of his countrymen and the years of vicious anti-Semitism that forced his family to flee Berlin. 8-page b&w photo insert, 47 b&w photos throughout.