1900–1947. Commandant of the German Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Member of the NSDAP and the SS.
After he joined the SS, he served at the camps at Dachau and Sachsenhausen. In 1940, he was ordered by Heinrich Himmler to build a concentration camp in Auschwitz. He commanded the camp in the years 1940–1943. Under Hoess’s command, the camp became a factory of death that claimed over a million victims.
From 1943, he was a high-ranked official in the SS Main Economic and Administrative Office, which ran the concentration camps. After the war, he used the name Franz Lang. He was captured by British troops on 11 March 1946. Two months later, he was handed over to Polish authorities. He was tried by the Supreme National Tribunal in Warsaw.
Hoess was sentenced to death. The sentence was carried out by hanging in the former Auschwitz camp on 16 April 1947.
"I have come to the bitter recognition that I have sinned gravely against humanity. (...) I was responsible for carrying out part of the cruel plans of the "Third Reich" for human destruction. In doing so, 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", wrote Hoess before his death.