Rudolf Höss was the commandant of Auschwitz, one of the concentration camps established by Nazi Germany during WWII. He oversaw the deaths of more than two million people. Saint Maximilian Kolbe was among those millions murdered at Auschwitz.
Höss was captured after the end of the war and executed in 1947.
This is about all that most people know about him. It was all I ever knew about him before today. In all that I have ever learned about WWII, I only ever heard his name mentioned along with many other names connected to Auschwitz and the trials as Nuremberg. The guy in charge of Auschwitz, the guy with a name that sounded almost the same as Hitler’s deputy Rudolph Hess, the guy referred to by the prisoners at Auschwitz as an animal because of his casual brutality, the guy notorious for showing no remorse during his trial for the grave evil that he had done.
The world is primarily concerned with the historical record of the evil that he did. Any documentary or presentation on his life may state the fact that he was raised Catholic. It may state the fact that he began to grow disillusioned with the faith as a young teen when his priest broke the seal of the confessional, and eventually ceased being a practicing Catholic. That’s about the most you’ll typically hear about his faith.
But because of what happened between the end of his trial and his execution, more needs to be said about him. Even a man like Höss can have a change of heart and repent. Even a man like Höss can receive God’s mercy and be forgiven.
Saint Faustina Kowalska was a sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. She died young in 1938, in her early 30’s. Jesus appeared to her many times and spoke with her frequently about mercy. The image of Divine Mercy, of Jesus with one red ray and one white ray coming from his heart, was painted based on one of his visitations to her.
Two sisters from the same order as Saint Faustina have been traveling around the United States during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, speaking about the appearances of Jesus to Saint Faustina and the mercy of God that Jesus wishes to share with all of us. Part of the talk that these sisters give shares what every documentary should share about Rudolf Höss.
Rather than provide a transcript to read, here’s a video of Sister Gaudia giving the talk (it’s about an hour long) at a parish in New Haven, Connecticut. The part about Rudolf Höss begins around 37 minutes into the video.
If there is hope for a man like Höss, then surely there is hope for me. Jesus, I trust in you.