WAR CRIMES: It Was Only 2,000,000

Rudolf Francis Ferdinand Hoess, a stocky, 47-year-old Nazi, stood stolidly in Warsaw's Supreme Court one day last week to hear his sentence. One of the court's officials asked him: "How did it feel to run a murder plant which produced 4,000,000 corpses?" Blandly, Hoess replied: "It was only 2,000,000."

Even by his own dilution of the blood on his hands, Hoess was history's top killer, the master of mass atrocity. The number of lives he had taken in Germany's horror camp at Auschwitz (Oswiecim) far exceeded the largest total in any historically accepted account of the world's bloodiest massacres. The tolls...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!