The Nazis had a trick of finding the right people for their dirty work, and in Rudolph Hoess they found a perfect one. In 1923, when he was 23, he served four years for manslaughter. When Hitler came to power the ex-convict joined the SS and worked in several concentration camps until he was put in charge of Auschwitz in 1940.

Hoess was the first commandant to use Zyklon-B gas, and constructed gas chambers that could kill 2,000 people at a time. He planned to kill 10,000 a day but fell short of that target because of problems with the rail network.

His records show that he killed 1.1 million, although he believed his figure was closer to three million. In 1943 he was put in charge of all the Nazi concentration camps.

He was arrested by the British Army in 1945 and eventually handed over to the Poles, who hanged him in the courtyard of Auschwitz on Wednesday, April 16th, 1947.