Hanns and Rudolf by Thomas Harding
The True Story of the German Jew Who Tracked Down and Caught the Kommandant of Auschwitz

82%

6 Critic Reviews

...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.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

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).
 

About Thomas Harding

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Thomas Harding is a former documentary filmmaker and journalist who has written for 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.
 
Published September 3, 2013 by Simon & Schuster. 369 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Hanns and Rudolf
All: 6 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Good
on Jul 07 2013

The protagonists' individual choices and family backgrounds give this biographical history a unique, intimate quality.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Jul 01 2013

...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.

Read Full Review of Hanns and Rudolf: The True St... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by ManoflaBook.com on Jun 05 2014

Mr. Harding wrote a strong, thought provoking, fascinating book which, most important of all, is a family heirloom and an homage to a relative who has passed away. I found the book to be well researched, an easy read and a window into a time where the ideal of right and wrong was clearly defined.

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WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Ian Brunskill on Sep 20 2013

The result is an enthralling, thoughtful book—part history, part biography, part thriller. The story Mr. Harding tells is of two parallel lives—two opposite worlds—that in the chaos of the war's end converge and then collide. In that collision, Mr. Harding argues, modern history was changed.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Steve Novak on Nov 23 2013

There is no need for hyperbole in describing the terrors of Ausch­witz, and Harding spares any embellishment when he recounts Höss’ leadership there.

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The Economist

Good
Reviewed by The Economist on Aug 30 2013

Mr Harding begins his book with a promise to challenge “the traditional portrayal of the hero and the villain”. Fortunately his narrative is not so morally muddy. Rudolf is shown as a man who, owing to circumstance and character, embraced evil. Hanns did the opposite.

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