Rudolf Hoess, also spelled Rudolph, remains one of the most notorious members of the Nazi party in history. He was the commandant of the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp, where he oversaw the systematic execution of a huge number of people.
Hoess was born in 1900 in Baden-Baden Germany, and had few friends during his childhood. He served during WWI and actually became the youngest non-commissioned officer in the German army, eventually winning an Iron Cross and a Gallipoli Star for his efforts during the war.
Hoess joined the Nazi party around 1922 to 1923. Shortly thereafter, at the behest of Martin Bormann, Hoess and a group of other men murdered Walther Kadow by beating him to death. Hoess served four years in prison as a result of his crime.
In 1933, Hoess applied for SS membership and received his acceptance in April of 1934. He quickly became obsessed Henrich Himmler, and actually preferred to hang Himmler's picture in his office instead of Hitler's. Hoess worked at Dachau for some time before eventually being moved to the camp known as Auschwitz. During his tenure at Auschwitz the camp was enlarged into a huge camp, and designed it to be much more efficient than the camps he had served at previously.
In 1941, Hoess was told that Auschwitz was to be the main camp used for the extermination of the Jewish people. Hoess went about perfecting the methods of mass killing that led to Auschwitz becoming the primary tool used by the Germans to execute their prisoners. Hoess claimed that 4,000 prisoners arrived daily, with an initial 'sorting' stage that determined who was to die in the gas chambers and who would be forced into labor. Hoess had gas chambers built so large that he and his soldiers could execute 2,000 people at one time. He claimed that 10,000 people were killed in one single 24 hour period.
Hoess was eventually captured after managing to evade arrest for almost a full year. Hoess was beaten until he confessed to who he truly was. Hoess was tried at Nuremberg, and during this time he gave highly detailed explanations of what he did and of how Auschwitz worked. He claimed to have overseen the execution of around 3,000,000 people although most historians agree that the number was likely lower than that. Most agree that just over 1,000,000 people were killed at the camp, though a specific number is hard to determine. Hoess was executed by hanging at Auschwitz in 1947.
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