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"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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Call Number296.387 H82a
Dates2013; ©2013
Statement of ResponsibilityManfred Deselaers.
Creators & ContributorsDeselaers, Manfred (author)
Rose, Renate (translator)
Höss, Rudolf (subject)
Summary"This book was written originally as Rev. M. Deselaers’ dissertation at the Papal Theological Academy of Krakow, Poland, with the title God and Evil with Regards to the Life and Testimonies of Rudolf Höss, Commander of Auschwitz, and by the structure of its origin constituted a German-Polish bridge-building endeavor. It represents the fruit of the author’s desire, as a German 'after Auschwitz,' to engage in peace work. Through his work and study he tries to participate in a living conversation, understand, together with those directly connected with 'Auschwitz,' how such a thing could possibly happen, and contribute to building a more peaceful future." —Publisher

The first part attempts to describe historical facts and covers the broad spectrum of the biography. This part refrains from making any assessments, just shows/focuses on what had happened in the life of Rudolf Höss. The critical aspect here consists in showing of the 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.

Part I. Presentation of the biography
  • Introducing the subject-matter
  • Guideposts
  • Entering the SS: self-understanding and beginning tasks
  • Commander in Auschwitz
  • The end
Part II. Anthropological-theological analysis of the biography

Part IIA. Fundamental consideration about God and evil
  • Introduction
  • The structure of goodness
  • The fall from goodness
  • The structure of evil
  • Redemption
Part IIB. Interpretation of the biographical documents
  • Introduction
  • Pathways toward idol worship
  • Life engrossed in idols
  • Path out of idol worship
Physical Description 415 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Carrier Typevolume
LanguageEnglish, Translated from the German by Renate Rose.
Publisher[Oświęcim] : Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 398–415)
  • Translation from German of: Und Sie hatten nie Gewissensbisse? (Leipzig : Benno-Verlag, 2001)
RecognitionGifted by the Witnessing Auschwitz: Conflicting Stories and Memories Program (UBC's Go Global: International Learning Programs and the UBC Faculty of Arts)