“My conscience compels me to make the following declaration. In the solitude of my prison cell I have come to the bitter recognition that I have sinned gravely against humanity. As Commandant of Auschwitz I was responsible for carrying out part of the cruel plans of the "Third Reich" for human destruction. In so doing I have inflicted terrible wounds on humanity. I caused unspeakable suffering for the Polish people in particular. I am to pay for this with my life. May the Lord God forgive one day what I have done. I ask the Polish people for forgiveness. In Polish prisons I experienced for the first time what human kindness is. Despite all that has happened I have experienced humane treatment which I could never have expected, and which has deeply shamed me. May the facts which are now coming out about the horrible crimes against humanity make the repetition of such cruel acts impossible for all time.”
Obersturmbannführer Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Höss (also Höß, Hoeß or Hoess) (25 November 1901 – 16 April 1947) was a Nazi lieutenant colonel in the Schutzstaffel (SS) and the longest serving commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp in World War II. He tested and carried into effect various methods to accelerate Hitler's plan to exterminate the Jewish population of Nazi-occupied Europe through genocide known as the Final Solution. Höss introduced pesticide Zyklon B containing hydrogen cyanide to the killing process, thereby allowing soldiers at Auschwitz to murder 2,000 people every hour. He created the largest installation for the continuous annihilation of human beings ever known.
Höss joined the Nazi Party in 1922 and the SS in 1934. From 4 May 1940 to November 1943, and again from 8 May 1944 to 18 January 1945 he was in charge of Auschwitz where more than a million people were killed before the defeat of Germany. He was hanged in 1947 following a trial in Warsaw.