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Manfred Deselaers - " And Your Conscience Never Haunted You? "The Life of Rudolf Höß, Commander of Auschwitz and the question of his responsibility before God and human beings

Manfred Deselaers - " And Your Conscience Never Haunted You? "The Life of Rudolf Höß, Commander of Auschwitz and the question of his responsibility before God and human beings

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The former commander of Auschwitz ended his autobiography in 1947 with the words "May the public continue to see in me the bloodthirsty beast, the cruel sadist, the murderer of millions - for the majority of people would not be able to imagine the Commander of Auschwitz in any other way. The broad mass of people will never understand that he also had a heart, that the wasn't evil "

Manfred Deselaers - " And Your Conscience Never Haunted You? "The Life of Rudolf Höß, Commander of Auschwitz and the question of his responsibility before God and human beings

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The former commander of Auschwitz ended his autobiography in 1947 with the words "May the public continue to see in me the bloodthirsty beast, the cruel sadist, the murderer of millions - for the majority of people would not be able to imagine the Commander of Auschwitz in any other way. The broad mass of people will never understand that he also had a heart, that the wasn't evil "

Here lies precisely the problem: Rudolf Höß was not an animal without any conscience, no "bloodthirsty beast". Höß was not a sick person, unable to assume responsibility; he was no "cruel sadist". But he was nevertheless the "murder of millions". It is because he "had a heart" that he was responsible. For this very reason we are entitled to ask whether he was "evil".

The heart is the place in the human being where decisions are made about being open or being closed, where relationships to others and the desire for God are born and directed. The question concerning the heart therefore is the primary key for evolution in this work. The first part attempts to decribe the historical facts. This part refrains from making assessments. The critical aspect here consists in showingthe shadow side of Höß, perspective by bringing to light the perspective of the victims. The second part is an attempt to analyze the biography from an anthropological-theological point of view.

MANFRED DESELAERS is a Roman Catholic priest from Germany. Since 1990 he lives in the city of Oświęcim, where he works at the Centre for Dialogue and Prayer.

Additional Information

Title Manfred Deselaers - " And Your Conscience Never Haunted You? "The Life of Rudolf Höß, Commander of Auschwitz and the question of his responsibility before God and human beings
Author No
Publisher Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
ISBN 978-83-7704-057-7
Year 2013
Cover Hard
Width 16
Height 24
Additional Informations No

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