Pochi giorni prima della sua esecuzione, Rudolf Hoess, comandante ad Auschwitz, assassino a mani nude, oltre che ideatore dello sterminio dei prigionieri con lo Zyklon B, scrisse un’ultima lettera ai figli, con la quale cercò il senso di una vita in camicia bruna. Queste le parole rivolte al maggiore:
« Mio caro Klaus! Tu sei il più grande. Stai per affacciarti sul mondo. Ora devi trovare la tua strada nella vita. Hai delle buone capacità. Usale! Conserva il tuo buon cuore. Diventa una persona che si lascia guidare soprattutto dal calore e dall’umanità. Impara a pensare e giudicare responsabilmente da solo. Non accettare tutto acriticamente e come assolutamente vero, impara dalla vita. Il più grave errore della mia vita è stato credere fedelmente a tutto ciò che venisse dall’alto senza osare d’avere il minimo dubbio circa la verità che mi veniva presentata. Cammina attraverso la vita con gli occhi aperti. Non diventare unilaterale: esamina i pro ed i contro in ogni argomento. In ogni tua impresa non lasciare parlare solo la tua mente, ma ascolta soprattutto la voce del tuo cuore ».
L’intero testo nella versione tradotta in inglese [da Lest We Forget]
« You, my dear, good children!
Your daddy has to leave you now. For you, poor ones, there remains only your dear, good Mommy. May she remain with you for a long time yet. You do not understand yet what your good Mommy really means to you, and what a precious possession she is to you. The love and care of a mother is the most beautiful and valuable thing that exists on this earth. I realized this a long time ago, only when it was too late; and I have regretted it all my life.
To you, my dear children, I address therefore my last (beseeching) request: Never forget your dear good mother! She has constantly taken care of you with such sacrificing love. How much of the good things in life has she sacrificed for your sake. How she feared for you when you were ill and how painfully and untiringly did she nurse all of you. Only for your sake must she suffer now all of the bitter misery and poverty.
Don’t ever forget this throughout your whole life. Help her now to carry her painful fate. Be loving and good to her. Help her as well as you can with your limited strength. In this manner pay her part of the thanks for the love and care she gave you during the days and nights.
Klaus, my dear boy! You are the oldest. You are now going out into the world. You have to now make your own way through life. You have good aptitudes. Use them! Keep your good heart. Become a person who lets himself be guided primarily by warmth and humanity. Learn to think and to judge for yourself, responsibly. Don’t accept everything without criticism and as absolutely true. Learn from life.
The biggest mistake of my life was that I believed everything faithfully which came from the top, and I didn’t dare to have the least bit of doubt about the truth of that which was presented to me. Walk through life with your eyes open. Don’t become one-sided; examine the pros and cons in all matters. In all your undertakings, don’t just let your mind speak, but listen above all to the voice in your heart.
Much, my dear boy, will not be understood by you as yet. But always remember my last advice. I wish you, my dear Klaus, all the luck in your life. Become a competent, straightforward person who has his heart in the right place.
Kindi and Püppi, you my big girls!
You are yet too young to learn the extent of the hard fate dished out to us. But you especially, my dear good girls, are specially obligated to stand at your poor unfortunate mother’s side and with love assist her in every way you can. Surround her with all your childlike love from your heart and show her how much you love her …
As fundamentally different as you two are in your character, you both … have, however, soft and feeling hearts. Retain these throughout your later life. This is the most important thing. Only later will you understand that and will you remember my last words.
My Burling, you dear little guy!
Hang on to your happy child disposition. The cruel life will tear you, my dear boy, soon enough away from your child’s world. I was happy to hear from your dear mother that you are progressing so well in school. Your dear father is unable to tell you anything more. You poor little guy have now only your dear good Mommy left who will care for you. Listen to her with love and kindness and so remain ‘Daddy’s dear Burling
My dear Annemäusl
How little was I permitted to experience your dear little personality. Your dear good Mommy will have to take you, my dear Mäusl, for us into her arms and tell you of your daddy, and how very much he loved you. May you be for a long time Mommy’s little ray of sun and continue to give her much joy. May you, with your sunny ways, help your poor dear Mommy through all the dreary hours.
Once more from my heart I ask you all, my dear good children, take to heart my last words. Think of them again and again.
Keep in loving memory, Your Dad ».
Ultime lettere da Stalingrado [Einaudi, 1981]