Oświęcim – Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp (Execution of Rudolf Hoess)

From May 1940 until January 1945, other than for a short period in early 1944 when he was in Berlin, Rudolf Hoess was the camp commandant at Auschwitz-Birkenau. He managed to evade capture after the end of the Second World War, but British forces eventually caught up with him, arresting him in his new role as a farm-worker. The trial was under the control of the new Polish government and it began on 11 March 1947. Hoess was found guilty on 2 April 1947 and after some deliberation, it was decided that he should die at Auschwitz on 14 April 1947.

This is the location where Hoess was hanged for his crimes against humanity. The execution was photographed, but the public was mostly limited from watching, following the grisly scenes in Poznan when Arthur Greise was executed when it turned into almost a day out for families.

Copyright Auschwitz Museum

Hoess being escorted to the gallows. Before he died, the Polish authorities had encouraged him to write his memoirs, to ensure that his story was told. Before his death, Hoess had sought the presence of a priest, which was allowed and Hoess was the last person to be killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau.