Rudolf Hoess: Crimes Against Humanity Essay

2250 words - 9 pages

Grace WeiHumanities - NiemollerMs. Petersen, Mr. FarleyNov. 8th, 2013Looking at Rudolf Hoess from the Nuremberg TrialEventAfter the Axis powers lost in World War II, the Nuremberg Trial began. The Nuremberg Trial was an international military tribunal that happened in 1945 in Nuremberg, Germany. Nazi war criminals were put on the stand, and Rudolf Hoess, the commandant of Auschwitz, was one of the defendant witnesses. His testimony in the trial has allowed us to know more about Auschwitz, the largest and most notorious of all the Nazi camps, and Hoess himself. He wrote poetries about the beauty of Auschwitz when he watched 2.5 millions of innocent people dissolve in the gas chamber. He was even proud of how much more humane the gassing process was at Auschwitz compared to Treblinka ("Jewish Virtual Library"). However, by observing his calm testimonies in the trial, he was still a kind man deep in his heart. When Rudolf Hoess stood trial at Nuremberg, he concluded his testimony by saying he was not a sadistic man and that he had never sanctioned the extermination of the Jews ("The SS men"). He was dedicated to his work by developing new technology when he felt that it was his duty to do so; however, he confessed that what happened to the Jews were his responsibility; he was so loyal to his boss that he neglected the rights of the Jews; he was a caring family man who took care of his children and was supportive of his wife. Although Rudolf Hoess was history's greatest mass murderer, his testimony from the Nuremberg Trial showed that he was a compassionate man because he was responsible as a commandant, as a subordinate, and for his family.He admitted to originally doubting the morality of his orders but continued to do so anyways because he followed whatever his superior had told him to do, neglected the rights of the Jews. However he took responsibility for all that had happened to the Jews in Auschwitz. In the trial, he was asked if he was ever sympathetic for the victims when he thought of his own family, and his answer was "yes". Then they questioned his motive for being so cruel to the victims when he had readily admitted his pity. Hoess answered: "In view of all these doubts which I had, the only one and decisive argument was the strict order and the reason given for it by the Reichsfáhrer Himmler"(Hoess). He doubted his actions, which made him less cold-hearted than a Nazi was expected to be.Even though Hoess was irresolute about his job, he still obeyed the orders his superior had given him. He sacrificed his beliefs in order to be loyal to his superior. Therefore, in order to perform his job perfectly, he became history's "best killer". In his autobiography, he said that he had no choice other than obeying:I had to obey, because, after all, wasn't I a soldier? And didn't I choose this course? At that moment I wanted to go back to the difficult but free path that I had followed before. Now there was no turning back for me. With mixed...

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