Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hoess as seen by Col. B C Andrus

Source: The Infamous of Nuremberg by Col. B.C. Andrus - page 148-154

Comment: Quotes one of Hoess's affidavits in full and then gives a brief summary of Major Goldensohn's briefing.  Also include a short section which erroneously claims the executed defendents were cremated at Dachau camp.  Of possible relevance: http://littlegreyrabbit.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/rudolf-hoess-on-aktion-reinhard-camps-did-he-have-a-clue-about-what-he-was-saying/

[First part, the affidavit that was read by Hoess in court]
The whole court looked at Hoess in open astonishment and horror as he assented to the truth of his vile statement.
When he was testifying that he had caused a glass window to be cut into the wall of the extermination chamber so he could view the suffering and the dying he had a gloating smile on his face.  He obviously felt tremendous pride that he had been a more efficient killer than anybody else.  His attitude was something beyond sadism.  The judges looked shocked as this little man with the beady eyes detailed his camp activities.  Many of us felt overwhelming nausea.
What sort of man was this, whose matter-of-fact admissions of horrifying murder dumbfounded the whole court?
Psychiatrist Major Goldensohn went to Hoess's cell, armed with some questions from Fr Walsh as well as his own.  They talked for a long time and the subdued Goldensohn emerged.  Then he reported to me: "Hoess was.....commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp for four years.  As a result of what he terms his efficient and superior work at that extermination camp, he was promoted to the position of Bureau Chief in the Inspection Division for concentration camps in Berlin.  His past history reveals that he was born in Baden-Baden, had eight years of schooling, and volunteered as a soldier in 1916.  He worked as a farmer on an estate from 1921 until 1923, when he was imprisoned because of his having taken part in the murder of a man.  He stated that he was one of four men who clubbed to death a fellow German because of some grudge which he and the other three men had against the victim.  He was sentenced to ten years' hard labour, but was released after five years at the time of the so-called Hindenburg Amnesty, because the crime was considered a political murder.
'He joined the SS in 1934 and soon thereafter became a supervisor of a concentration camp.  Prior to his being sent to open the camp at Auschwitz, he inspected what he calls 'crude extermination chambers' at Treblinka where carbon monoxide was used as the killing agent.  He then devised the large extermination chambers which were constructed and used at Auschwitz.  He states that until the age of 14 he was a devout Catholic and was brought up as such by his parents.  His father was much more religious than his mother.  There is evidence of much hostility, most of it unconscious, towards the father, who died when Hoess was 14 years of age.
'His parents wanted him to become a Catholic priest, but he states he always wanted to become a soldier and no inclination towards the priesthood.  He says he left the Church in 1922 because "there was a lot of humbug connected with so-called holy places, especially by the Catholic Church of which I was a member, and that diverted me from my formerly rigid Catholicism."  When he was asked what this humbug consisted of he said that he could not recall as it was a long time agon, "but much money went to the church and this seemed humbug to me".
'In summary, this man seems to have no moral or ethical standards, his reaction to the mass murders of which he was in charge is apathetic.  He states that he how sees that these exterminations, which numbered 2.5 million were "unnecessary" but at the time they seemed justified and necessary because he had been told by his superior, Himmler, that" if we Germans didn't exterminate the Jews, the Jews would exterminate us".  In my opinion he lacks perspective as to the value of the dignity of human life, he is not given to introspection and is emotionally incapable of guilt feelings except to express them verbally now that he has been apprehended.  He does not believe in any life after death.  He has never been haunted or bothered in any way by the memory of his crimes.  His conscience, which psychiatrically might be termed "superego" is psychopathic.  There is no tendency towards suicide.
'In answer to the question as to whether this man's actions are explicable on the basis of a physical or mental condition or whether it must be attributed to the influence of National Socialism, the answer is a dual one.  His character is that of a moral psychopath, which in itself, and correlated with his personal development history, indicates a dearth of parental love and an unconscious hostility towards the father.  Secondly, there is the influence of National Socialism which enabled this sadistic psychopath to commit unprecedented inhumanities in a framework of apparent social and political respectability.
page 198
At 4 am, the bodies were loaded aboard two heavily guarded lorries which swung out of the prison towards Munich.  Scores of pressmen, who had been waiting all night outside the prison in the rain, set off after them.  An escort vehicle, however, swung across the road and sent the press cars back under threat of fire.  The lorries continued on with their macabre load to a secret destination: Dachau.  The terrible ovens that had claimed so many lives were once more lighted and the bodies of the men who had filled them tossed inside.  Then their ashes were raked out, collected and thrown secretly into a river.
One more important duty remained.  I wanted to make absolutely sure that none of Goering's huge collection of jewelled insignia would remain to be glorified by an imitator.  I had every piece of jewel-encrusted decoration torn apart.  The precious metals were melted and the stones put together.  They were handed over, unrecognisable so far as origin was concerned, to the new German economy.  The rest of his inventory of valuables was given to his widow.
It still shames me to know that there were at that time men in other places than Germany who were prepared to gloat over the dead man's relics.  When I got back to my office a telegram awaited me from the United States.  A big businessman was prepared to give me twenty-five thousand dollars for the rope that had hanged Goering.

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