Rudolf Höss’ grandchild is  ‘working underground’ to help defeat ‘new Nazis’, Islamic State, writes Sharon Feinstein. 

Rainer Hoess shows a picture of his family including Rudolf Hoess, center, in Neuhengstett, Germany, Thursday, April 7, 2011. Rainer Hoess was 12 years old when he found out his grandfather was one of the worst mass murderers in history. The gardener at his boarding school, an Auschwitz survivor, beat him black and blue after hearing he was the grandson of Rudolf Hoess, commandant of the death camp synonymous with the Holocaust. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Ranier Höss holds a picture of his father Hans-Jurgen as a child [front row second right], sitting in front of his grandfather, Auschwitz chief Rudolf Höss

The grandson of Auschwitz’s infamous commandant Rudolf Höss this week revealed he is on the frontline of the German government’s battle against Islamic State.

In an exclusive interview with Jewish News, Rainer Höss, 50, the closest surviving relative of Rudolf Höss – who presided over an estimated 1.1 million deaths at the camp – revealed his secret underground fight against the terror group, which he calls “the new Nazis”.

Rainer said: “I’m the grandson of a mass murderer, so I know how nations sleepwalk towards disaster. It happened 70 years ago and it is happening again across the Middle East and north Africa. I am using my family knowledge to do everything I can to fight the rise of evil extremism.

“I’m working underground with the German government and a range of anti-terror organisations to track the movements of those returning from territory held by ISIS and those in Germany and elsewhere who may be drawn to them. We also speak to those who have returned and are being held by security forces.”

He added: “We cannot be passive in the face of this danger, as Europe was 70 years ago when my grandfather and his fellow Nazis rose to power. That’s why I also speak at schools and to youth groups and educate young Muslims about this murderous propaganda – showing them it has nothing to do with the Koran. We will sleepwalk again to another disaster if we don’t act.”

Ranier Höss at Auschwitz

Ranier Höss at Auschwitz

His role carries a terrible risk. He said: “ Islamic fundamentalists and modern Nazis accuse me of being ‘brainwashed by Jews’. They are dangerous fanatics and consider me the enemy, so I must work in secret.”

Höss compares the jihadist mindset to Nazis like his grandfather. “They want the same power Hitler did. They spread fear, hate, torture and death and put people under awful pressure this way. Fear is a powerful weapon; that’s why there are so many people fleeing the region, desperate to get to Europe.”

He adds: “I bear the name of Höss, My father [Hans-Jurgen Höss] grew up just yards from the chimneys of Auschwitz. My family had a clear view of the prisoners. My father grew up to hate Jews, just like my grandfather. I will carry my family’s shame for the rest of my life. I have two choices – I can howl with the wolves or I can hunt the wolves down.”

Höss’ grandfather Rudolf was the longest serving commandant of Auschwitz. He introduced Zyklon B to the killing process, allowing the murder of up to 2,000 people an hour. He was hanged in 1947 near the camp, aged 46.