Hanns and Rudolf

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

4.28 (2,045 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

WINNER OF THE JQ WINGATE PRIZE 2015

SHORTLISTED FOR THE COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD

The true story of the Jewish investigator who pursued and captured one of Nazi Germany's most notorious war criminals.

Hanns Alexander was the son of a prosperous German family who fled Berlin for London in the 1930s.

Rudolf Hoess 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 Hoess his most elusive target.

In this book Thomas Harding reveals for the very first time the full, exhilarating account of Hoess' capture. 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 whose lives diverged, and intersected, in an astonishing way.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 162 x 240 x 35mm | 763g
  • William Heinemann Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Illustrations, maps
  • 0434022365
  • 9780434022366
  • 384,326

Back cover copy

‘Fascinating. As awareness of the full horror of these dark years continues to advance, this book fills a unique and vital role.’
Lyn Smith

‘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

‘Thrilling… Closely researched and tautly written, this book sheds light on a remarkable and previously unknow n 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

‘A fascinating, well-crafted book, entwining two biographies for an unusual and illuminating approach to the history of the Third Reich, its most heinous crime and its aftermath.’
Roger Moorhouse

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

"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."
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Review quote

"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 Hoess, 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 Hoess, 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 * "An extraordinary tale deriving from meticulous research - the story of how a young Jew after 1945 almost single-handedly hunted down the Kommandant of Auschwitz." -- Frederick Forsyth "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 *
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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, and for many years was an award-winning publisher of a newspaper in West Virginia. He lives in Hampshire.
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Rating details

2,045 ratings
4.28 out of 5 stars
5 44% (909)
4 42% (858)
3 11% (235)
2 1% (28)
1 1% (15)
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