A daughter of Rudolf Höss, the infamous Kommandant of notorious Nazi death camp Auschwitz, has revealed that she has spent the past 40 years living and working in Washington DC.
Brigitte Höss, now 80, has avoided talking about her shameful family secret for almost her entire life. She maintains to this day that her father ‘was the nicest man in the world,’ although history will remember him as one of the biggest mass murderers in history.
He designed and built Auschwitz, where more than 1.1 million Jews were killed, along with 20,000 gypsies and tens of thousands of Polish and Russian political prisoners.
He was hanged in 1947 after the end of the war and Brigitte, together with her mother Hedwig and two brother and two sisters, was thrown into abject poverty.
Aged 80 and recently diagnosed with cancer, she has spent much of the past 40 years working in a fashion boutique serving prominent Washingtonians, including the wives of senators and congressmen.
Now retired and living in Northern Virginia she has yet to tell her grandchildren about the unfortunate legacy that her father created for his family.
She recently spoken to author Thomas Harding, whose great-uncle Hanns Alexander was a Nazi hunter, about her shamed past on the condition that her married name wasn’t revealed.
Throughout her life if people asked about her father she would tell them matter-of-factly that he died during World War 2, reports The Washington Post.
Born Inge-Brigitt Höss on Aug. 18, 1933, her early years were spent moving from one concentration camp to another as her father moved up the ranks of Hitler’s SS.
From the age of seven until 11 she lived in a villa beside Auschwitz, where her family resided in fine style.
They were waited upon by staff – many of them prisoners – and their home was decorated with furniture and artwork stolen from prisoners as they were selected for the gas chambers.
They could even see the prisoner blocks and old crematorium from an upstairs window, but Brigitte more fondly recalls visiting the horses and German shepherds at the camp.
In April 1945, with the war clearly lost, the family fled north. They waited for the right moment to escape to South America, but in March 1946 Hanns Alexander, Harding’s great-uncle, caught up with them. After testifying at Nuremberg, Höss was hanged at the gallows next to the Auschwitz crematorium.