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Hanns and Rudolf The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz

by Thomas Harding

Biography / Autobiography

Hanns and Rudolf The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz Synopsis

Shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award 2013.

This is the true story of Hanns Alexander, 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.

Hanns and Rudolf The German Jew and the Hunt for the Kommandant of Auschwitz Press Reviews

'Thomas Harding has shed intriguing new light on the strange poison of Nazism, and one of its most lethal practitioners... Meticulously researched and deeply felt.' -- Ben Macintyre The Times, Book of the Week

 

'Fascinating and moving...This is a remarkable book, which deserves a wide readership.' -- Max Hastings The Sunday Times

 

'A gripping thriller, an unspeakable crime, an essential history.' -- John Le Carre

 

'This is a stunning book...both chilling and deeply disturbing. It is also an utterly compelling and exhilarating account of one man's extraordinary hunt for the Kommandant of the most notorious death camp of all, Auschwitz-Birkenau.' -- James Holland

 

'Only at his great uncle's funeral in 2006 did Thomas Harding discover that Hanns Alexander, whose Jewish family fled to Britain from Nazi Germany in the 1930s, hunted down and captured Rudolf Hoss, the ruthless commandant of Auschwitz, at the end of World War Two. By tracing the lives of these two men in parallel until their dramatic convergence in 1946, Harding puts the monstrous evil of the Final Solution in two specific but very different human contexts. The result is a compelling book full of unexpected revelations and insights, an authentic addition to our knowledge and understanding of this dark chapter in European history. No-one who starts reading it can fail to go on to the end.' -- David Lodge

 

'In this electrifying account, Thomas Harding commemorates (and, for the tired, revivifies) a ringing Biblical injunction: Justice, justice, shalt thou pursue.' -- Cynthia Ozick

 

'Its climax as thrilling as any wartime adventure story, Hanns and Rudolf is also a moral inquiry into an eternal question: what makes a man turn to evil? Closely researched and tautly written, this book sheds light on a remarkable and previously unknown aspect of the Holocaust - the moment when a Jew and one of the highest-ranking Nazis came face to face and history held its breath.' -- Jonathan Freedland

 

'Absorbing ... Thomas Harding narrates, in careful, understated prose, the story of how his great uncle Hanns Alexander hunted down the man who vaingloriously identified himself as 'the world's greatest destroyer': Rudolf Hoss, the Bavarian-born Kommandant of Auschwitz. Harding balances with scrupulous care the stories of the pursuer and the pursued. Le Carre is quite correct. The last section of Harding's book does indeed read like a gripping thriller.' -- Miranda Seymour Spectator

 

'A highly readable detective story . This is really a book about the world of Hanns Alexander.[and it is] well worth reading ... Harding has researched it thoroughly.' -- Richard Overy Sunday Telegraph

 

'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

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780099559054
Publication date: 01/05/2014
Publisher: Windmill Books an imprint of Cornerstone
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780434022366
Publication date: 22/08/2013
Publisher: William Heinemann Ltd an imprint of Cornerstone
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780434022366
Publication date: 22nd August 2013
Author: Thomas Harding
Publisher: William Heinemann Ltd an imprint of Cornerstone
Format: Hardback
Genres: Biography / Autobiography,
Categories:

About Thomas Harding

Thomas Harding is a journalist who has written for The Sunday Times, 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.

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