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The Master of Auschwitz:

Memoirs of Rudolf Hoess, Kommandant SS
Narrated by: Tim Dalgleish
Length: 13 hrs and 56 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The first-hand account of the life, career, and the practices of horror at Auschwitz, written by Auschwitz Kommandant SS Rudolf Hoss as he awaited execution for his crimes. Including his psychological interviews at Nuremberg.

©2016 Stephen R. Pastore (P)2016 Stephen R. Pastore

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Chilling account of bad human behaviour.

Hoess shows little emotion recounting his life, and in particular possibly rewriting history and his own involvement in the possible death of 2.5 million people at Auschwitz. “I was just following orders” needs more examination by more independent sources although there maybe some truth.

Hopefully it will never occur again.

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great book

it's a difficult story and at times gets a little slow. but worth taking the time to read.

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  • Ted
  • 16-04-2018

Hindsight. Not 20/20

If you are even looking at this title I assume you've had some background reading on ww2 the third Reich and the SS KZ System. The memoirs of Höss are valuable for two primary reasons: 1. he was among the closest to the atrocities of WW2 Germany and provides details and POV that only he can; 2. his account shows the flaws and self deception used to make tidy the horrors of genocide. It's very clear from reading other accounts that Höss wasnt just a victim of circumstance and patriotism. He was a leader and so admits it. He says he never personally abused an inmate and that he never knew of any institutional abuse. While he may not have whipped a prisoner he readily set up firing squads and built Zyklon B gas chambers to kill millions. That said it's hard not to have a modicum of sympathy for this perpetrator if not for the farewell made to his family.

This is a good listen. There are some mispronunciations of German but it's not too jarring.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Cabazone
  • 09-06-2017

Deeply Disturbing, yet instructional tale

If you are squeamish, I would not recommend this book. But for those history buffs and psychology enthusiasts who want to, this book is for you. A deeply disturbing, yet instructional tale, it dives into the mind of the greatest mass murderer in history. Most of the Nazi mass murderers didn't leave writings. But this one did. And it's a fascinating look at how one man rationalized his role in the murder of millions.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Tim
  • 16-03-2017

The Banality of Evil…a Memoir

This is a tough book to review. It’s the personal story of the sociopath who ran Auschwitz and was the guy who dreamed up the gas chambers that were used in the annihilation of something over 2 Million people. I’ve read a lot of WWII material and probably more than is healthy around the Holocaust…I’ve even sat through all nine and a half hours of the documentary Shoa which is a mind twisting first person retelling of the holocaust. So I thought I’d heard much of the story of Auschwitz. Apparently not. Bear in mind that this is his story told by him whist waiting to be executed for war crimes. It reveals a great deal of his life story. He was clearly raised a sociopath with no ability to empathize (check out The Sociopath next door on Audible). He recalls how he devised, expanded and ran the death camp which started as a small barracks in the middle of nowhere and became perhaps the greatest stain on the soul of the twentieth century. Against this madness he portrays himself as a mild mannered family man who loved his wife and children and worked to ease the suffering of the prisoners in our care.

Although he oversaw the mass extinction and was present at many of the gassings he claims never to have raised his hand against a prisoner….which means either he is lying or Thomas Keneally (author of Schindler’s Ark) invented the sadistic fornicating monster who was the master of Auschwitz. His self-aggrandizing, self-exculpatory telling has him as the mild mannered would be farmer who was simply “acting under orders” and cared deeply for the wellbeing of his victims. Even through this filter the details of the breathtaking evil he presided over are painfully clear.

If you are a WWII or holocaust completest this is a must read. It’s horrifying but well performed. It’s actually quite compelling in many places. Perhaps the most horrifying aspect is the sheer banality of the entire process. Nobody seemed particularly at odds with the idea that entire groups of humanity should be obliterated and the Teutonic attention to the detail of mass homicide may rob you of sleep. There were five thousand Germans directly involved with the process at Auschwitz...yet nobody knew anything? Hearing him complain about the variable quality of the Zyklon-B they were given which meant that sometimes it took closer to 30 minutes to kill a room full of humans rather than the usual 10-15 minutes is just one hair raising example.

It’s hard to recommend something as disturbing as this book. It’s very good…but very dark. However some of the lessons it teaches about how evil thrives where the good do nothing is one which unfortunately has stood the test of time. So donate to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and the Red Cross, then hug your children…then read this book.

39 of 50 people found this review helpful

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  • cole
  • 19-05-2017

absolutely fascinating to hear from hoess himself.

an excellent read for any world war two student. you will meet hoess' human side and imo he is extremely honest in his accounts of events.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • 18-06-2019

Very informative

Once I started it I didn't want to stop listening. It is a look into the personal and professional life of a man with no emotions or guilt of the crimes he committed. I highly recommend this to anyone wanting to know more about such a tragic place in history and the man behind it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dwayne Leo
  • 07-10-2018

Wow

Bonechilling story. This audiobook was very long but well worth all of my time. I would recommend it to anyone interested in the subject matter.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert J. Russell, Jr
  • 05-07-2018

Well worth the time

A bit dry at times but packed with facts and i found it fascinating. Educational too.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • D. Cramer
  • 04-05-2018

Music

The production music was incredibly awful. Good narration and great story, but for the love of God, ditch the music.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • CLAUDIA R KENNEDY
  • 17-12-2016

WOW

The mind- boggling insight into the head of a man who loves his wife and children .... yet send not tens of thousands .... but multiple MILLIONS OF FAMILIES to there death .... and feels justified in doing so is .... IM SHOCKED AND UNSETTLED ! Humans are NOT a civilized species !

17 of 25 people found this review helpful

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  • Peter
  • 26-07-2017

What a piece of crap the author was.

Very enciteful. The authors blame is only slightly mitigated by his ending. Gave me a better understanding of the thought process behind the Holocaust.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Margaret
  • 26-01-2017

story of a monster

First of all to be honest I skipped a few chapter when he was telling how other SS officers did not function well and actually hinderhis work and stopped him making things better for his prisoners. I felt sick to hear him sort of praising himself for wanting to make things better for the prisoners. I have read a lot about WW11 and have visited Aushwitz so have seen how 'better' things were. In fact I feel the only time he sounded a bit human were in the letters to his wife and children. The book is interesting partly because you wonder how someone can be a family man and still murder so many.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Gareth
  • 08-04-2017

Interesting viewpoint - weird sound bite

The personal memoirs of Rudolph Hoss the commandment of Auschwitz. Certainly an interesting viewpoint, obviously very one sided.

The narrator performance is great but the strange jingle in between chapters got irksome, especially as it stops abruptly each time

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • R. Uduwerage-Perera
  • 10-03-2017

Simply chilling!

Any additional comments?

Rudolph Hoess was a willing functionary in a system that intended to exterminate an entire ethnic group, but we must never forget that such functionaries require many, many more willing colleagues to complete their despicable task.

The lessons of the Holocaust have not been learnt sadly, so we need to keep revisiting our past so that eventually we learn to cease such barbarism.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael Ferguson
  • 22-09-2018

Master of death

Frightened to think this atrocity allowed to happen in the 20th century not so long ago and so close to home

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dropshort2000
  • 05-07-2019

A harrowing account

it's difficult to comprehend the scale of the killing. Hoess is at pains to tell the reader that he never mistreated prisoners. how he punished guards who abused those in their care. He then nonchalantly describes the murder of 2.5 million people, before repeating he tried his best to improve the lot if those prisoners who were needed for work. The book is very detailed and it makes one wonder how he remembered all those details while sat in a cell. that then begs the question to the authenticity to some or all of the book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-06-2019

As you’d expect from someone like Höss.

The timeline is all over the place. It’s borderline incoherent and more useful as a tool to profile Höss than to try and get any real objective information, or useful insight.

The usual excuses are all there as he tries to write of his part in the atrocities as largely a result of the incompetence of others. He does let the mask slip though and it’s not hard to get a decent idea of what he was, despite what is known of him generally.

Painful to get through.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-06-2019

really bad and repetitive he was helping everyone.

So bad in so many ways.
They must have told him he would be hung after he stopped writing.

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  • christopher
  • 04-03-2019

haunting book

really enjoyed this book a real eye opener to how the Germans at that time worked

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  • Sam H.
  • 14-09-2018

Fascinating

Be away that this is not entirely made up of memoirs but is elongated with interviews and associated documents etc. Still an fantastic listen and well worth it for anyone interested in history.

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  • Myfanwy
  • 21-07-2018

A great education

This book was a great education for me. I knew most of the content but I did not 'know'! So moving.
Well worth the time and emotional energy.