Books: Crime of the Century

COMMANDANT OF AUSCHWITZ (285 pp.) —Rudolf Hoess, translated by Constantine Fitzgibbon—World ($4.50).

Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess, Nazi SS captain, may have been the most monstrous executioner in human history. By his own accounting, 2,000,000 Jews were gassed and cremated at the Auschwitz concentration camp in southern Poland during his term (1940-43) as commandant. While awaiting trial in a Polish prison in 1946 (he was condemned and hanged in early 1947), he wrote this autobiography, now published in the U.S. for the first time.

Hoess offers no new facts on the grisly mass murders. What...

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