“THE INTERROGATION”— The Final Interrogation of Rudolf Hoess


The Final Interrogation of Rudolf Hoess

Amos Lassen

Israeli director Erez Pery’s “The Interrogation” is a look at Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess, the longstanding commander of the Auschwitz concentration camp and is based on his autobiography. It recreates the final interrogation of the infamous German before his execution.

In 1946, Hoess was discovered by British troops in Gottrupel, Germany disguised as a gardener after his whereabouts were divulged by his wife who believed that her betrayal of her husband would bring about their son’s safety. Shortly afterward the former Auschwitz commandant was taken to the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg and later handed over to the Supreme National Tribunal in Poland and was sentenced to death by hanging.

The Supreme National Tribunal interrogated him to get a perfect confession. The interrogator assigned to Hoess is Albert Piotrowski (Marciej Marczewski), who speaks German and therefore is able to make progress with the Nazi because of this. During his time in prison before his execution, several attempts had been made on Hoess’s life, which he survived. The original confession affidavit written by Rudolf Hoess is displayed in a glass case at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. He was executed on April 16th, 1947 at the very same location that he had commanded years earlier.

In 1946, Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess was the longest serving commander of Auschwitz concentration camp as he awaited trial in a Polish prison. Albert was a young and successful Polish investigation judge, who was appointed to interrogate him and get a perfect confession. The encounter between the two men shows the frightening routine and banalization of evil of Auschwitz. By introducing the use of Zyklon B in Auschwitz, Hoess carried out the most efficient mass killing process ever known and claimed the lives of approximately 1.1 million people. The film is based on the memoirs that he wrote before his execution.

The film “sets out to reveal the interrogation with a Soviet officer after his arrest with evocations of his youth, of his dreams of owning a large farm in a rural region of Germany in which to live from toil and peace, his engagement in the army and his evolution in the SS hierarchy until becoming the most important man of the Auschwitz camp, of his opinions as to the way in which the camp was organized as the impressions that ‘he was experiencing the two years in office during which thousands of Jews were horribly martyred, gassed and burned in crematoria.” The examining magistrate speaks little and asks only a few specific questions. Hoess tries to explain his role as director of the Auschwitz camp and his words are spoken in a monotonous almost mechanical way are terrifying and icy. We can only visualize and feel the facts he relates. We all know the horror of Auschwitz and this film assures that we will not forget everything that have happened, particularly for future generations. The film is bleak with heavy undertones throughout its short length.The actors are all very good despite the sets being minimalistic and the dark subject matter.

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