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The Holocaust History Project.
The Holocaust History Project.

Rudolf Hoess


Do you know anything about Rudolf Hoess and how he put his bathtub next to the crematorium to keep his water warm. We are working on a project in english and this is a question that we need to answer. This information would be greatly appreciated.

Harry W. Mazal OBE answers:

Thank you for your question addressed to the Holocaust History Project

I am one of the persons in the Project who responds to questions from our readers. It is possible that other members will also respond to your query.

We have considerable information about Rudolf Hoess in our library including his autobiography and his interrogation during the War Crime Trials in Nuremberg after World War II.

You may read the interrogation document on my personal web-site at:


I have never heard the tale regarding Hoess and his bathtub. It very unlikely that he did any such thing. Hoess lived just outside the walls of the Main Camp in Auschwitz in a very substantial brick house which is still standing. In fact, it is now a private residence.

It seems hard to believe that he would haul a bathtub some 100 yards to the closest crematorium (or 2 miles to the main ones in Birkenau), when he had a perfectly comfortable, well equipped bathroom in his house.

If your teacher has different information, I would certainly like to know his/her source.

Yours sincerely,

Harry W. Mazal OBE


I read your entry at http://www.photo.net/bp/dachau.html regarding Rudolf Hess vs Rudolf Höss: it is my understanding that they are one and the same person. It appears from your entry that you regard them as two different persons. If this is so, can you provide the basis for this assertion?

Michael Stein answers:

Hello, I am one of the people who answers questions sent to this address.

There were indeed two separate people with similar names. Rudolf Hess was deputy to Hitler. In May 1941 he flew to England to try to negotiate a peace, apparently without Hitler's knowledge or approval -- Hitler publicly repudiated Hess's actions. For the remainder of the war, Hess was imprisoned in Britain. After the war, Hess was tried and imprisoned in Spandau prison until his suicide in 1987. (The family claims he was murdered.)

Rudolf Höss (Anglicised: Hoess) was the best-known commandant of Auschwitz. He was tried by Poland and executed in 1947.

- Mike Stein


Dear Sir/ Madam,

I wrote to you some weeks ago in regard to information regarding Rudolph Hoess, to which I heard no reply. I am primarily looking for information regarding his trial in Warsaw for which I can find no available transcripts. If there is any information you furnish me with regarding this I would be most grateful.

Brian Harmon answers:

Hello, my name is Brian Harmon, and I am one of the volunteers answering questions for the Holocaust History Project.

While we do not have transcipts of Hoess's actual trial, our colleague Harry Mazal has both scans and text reproductions of Hoess's pretrial interrogations from April1 and 2, 1946. You may access that information at:


The actual trial transcripts are kept at the Auschwitz State Museum, I'll get back to you soon as to how you may access them.


- Brian Harmon


I came across your site when searching for material that I might use in my master thesis, entitled "The examplary meaning of the autobiography of Rudolf Hoess, commandant at Auschwitz, for the dilemma of modernity in the light of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber" (whew, long one!). The integral approach also includes exterior-objective psychology (behaviorism) and I was wondering if filmed documents of Hoess exist anywhere - so far I could not find any. So my question is: Do you know of the existence of any such material? Or do you know anybody who could possibly answer that question?

Andrew Mathis Responds:

In a search for photos of Höss online, I found this website: http://www.auschwitz.dk/hoess.htm

It is grisly, so please steel yourself before viewing.

There are photos here of Höss, obviously at trial. You may want to contact the webmasters there to see if the stills came from footage. It's unlikely that any film of Höss in his role of Auschwitz Commandant would be in existence. He was on the run for a good year before he was caught, and it seems most of the Nazis at that point had done the best they could to avoid being caught. Plus the nature of the Holocaust was so secret that the functionaries were rarely photographed.

Best of luck on your doctorate,

Andrew E. Mathis, Ph.D.

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