Letters to the Editor

The Crimes of Rudolf Hoess

Madam: I wish to draw readers’ attention to a factual error in Jillian Brannock’s article “Hannah Arendt and the ‘Banality of Evil’” (January-February 2024). The writer states that “The Auschwitz camp commandant Rudolf Hoess was a happily-married practising Catholic with five children.” I am not privy to the state of Hoess’s marriage and it is true that he fathered five kinder with his wife, Hedwig Hensel. It is also true that Hoess was brought up in a strict Catholic family. However, after hearing a speech by Adolf Hitler in Munich he joined the Nazi Party in 1922 (member number 3240) and renounced his affiliation with the Catholic Church.

At the outbreak of the First World War, Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess joined his father’s and grandfather’s old regiment, the German Army’s 21st Regiment of Dragoons. He fought with the Ottoman Sixth Army at various locations in the Middle East. While stationed in Turkey, he rose to the rank of Feldwebel (sergeant-in-chief) and at seventeen was the youngest non-commissioned officer in the army. He was wounded three times and was awarded the Iron Crescent and the Iron Cross first and second class among other military decorations.

After the Armistice of November 1918 Hoess completed his secondary education and joined some of the emerging nationalist paramilitary groups including the Freikorps. On May 31, 1923, in Mecklenburg, Hoess and members of the Freikorps attacked and beat to death a local schoolteacher, Walther Kadow, a suspected informer, on the wishes of farm supervisor Martin Bormann, who later became Hitler’s private secretary. Hoess was convicted and sentenced in March 1924 to ten years in prison but was released in July 1928 as part of a general amnesty.

Hoess testified at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in April 1946 and gave a detailed accounting of his crimes. In May 1946 he was handed over to Polish authorities, and the Supreme National Tribunal in Poland tried him for murder.

Four days before he was executed, Hoess acknowledged the enormity of his crimes in a message to the state prosecutor:

“My conscience compels me to make the following declaration. In the solitude of my prison cell, I have come to the bitter recognition that I have sinned gravely against humanity. As Commandant of Auschwitz, I was responsible for carrying out part of the cruel plans of the ‘Third Reich’ for human destruction. In so doing I have inflicted terrible wounds on humanity.”

Shortly before his execution, Hoess returned to the Catholic Church. On April 10, 1947, he received the sacrament of penance from Fr Władysław Lohn, provincial of the Polish Province of the Society of Jesus. On the next day the same priest administered to him Holy Communion as Viaticum.

On April 16, 1947, Hoess was hanged. At the request of former camp prisoners, the execution was carried out in Auschwitz, the camp he once commanded.

James Orrock


Another Woke Ceremony

Madam: I am a student at the University of Wollongong. I wish to draw your readership’s attention to my university’s recent overhaul of the graduation ceremony. In what seems another attempt by our tertiary institutions to out-signal one another in virtue, the potentates at UOW, in consultation with their Indigenous Strategies Unit, have in recent years “led significant changes to graduation, weaving Aboriginal ceremony, artwork and imagery into all elements of our graduation ceremony”, with an aim to the “blending of ancient practices and medieval traditions to create a new suite of UOW graduation traditions” (UOW Graduation Booklet).

What do these changes look like in practice? We begin proceedings with an academic procession across campus led by a troupe of elders wheeled out for the occasion. Upon reaching the hall, each academic is “incensed” by smouldering gum leaves; many of the professors hold their arms outstretched, as at airport security, while an elder bows down before them. After this lengthy rite, the assembly is treated to a didgeridoo-and-clapstick performance—the begowned (and conspicuously white) academics aloft on a dais, the elders seated cross-legged below them. Twenty minutes in, and this indigenous liturgy is still only two-thirds complete. Next comes the obligatory acknowledgment of country, which today turns into a ten-minute sermon on Aboriginal genius.

Then, and only then, does anything remotely resembling a tertiary graduation ceremony begin, with the commencement of the addresses and the conferral of awards. The musical interlude, formerly a showcase of the orchestral talents of students, has been replaced with a guitarist delivering a pub-standard rendition of “Dancing in the Moonlight”. The time-honoured academic anthem “Gaudeamus Igitur” is nowhere to be heard. Finally, after two painful hours have elapsed, the new graduates process out to the strains of cringeworthy Aboriginal-influenced pop music. All of these ceremonies are available to watch on YouTube—viewer discretion advised.

I fear that the efforts of the UOW Indigenous Strategies Unit have backfired. The end result of their overhaul (and who knows how much it all cost?) is a ceremony that is artificial, tokenistic and wanting in dignity. The “blending of ancient practices and medieval traditions”, a commendable sentiment in itself, has been effected without grace. Aboriginal elements have been so overtly and awkwardly tacked on as to lose significance. Welcomes-to-country have become the new opening prayers, during which all present must bow the head. The (undoubtedly atheist) professors are “incensed” by gum leaves with all the solemnity of a priest at High Mass. And heaven knows how all this folderol is viewed by the hordes of international students being churned out by UOW—never mind those countless graduates who have had to keep their mouths shut for three to four years while enduring the wokeness that infects all aspects of modern university life.

These highly-salaried academics, if they at all value the inherent and historical importance of the graduation ceremony above their attempts at virtue-signalling (which I doubt they do, or are too afraid to do), should revise or indeed restore a more traditional graduation proceedings. I certainly hope this is the case before I have to walk across that stage.

Name withheld by request


Muslim Assimilation

Madam: Rachael Kohn is to be thanked for her article “Muslim Assimilation and its Malcontents” (December 2023). In it she demonstrates all that was once good about the ABC—unbiased facts and clear prose—and in doing so sends a strong warning that the West has badly underestimated the threat from radical Middle East Islam.

We are fortunate that in our mostly Islamic neighbour, Indonesia, Islam is in general far more tolerant and wishes non-Muslims no harm. But few of our Muslims originate from there, coming mainly from countries with a long history of fighting one another and infidels of all kinds, especially Christians and atheists like those who make up the bulk of Australians.

The idea that if we were nice to them they would be nice to us and eventually become just another part of our tolerant multi-ethnic mix has been completely disproved by the hate-filled mobs with distorted faces, murderous chants and raised fists recently filling our streets.

The call for only taking culturally compatible future migrants who come here to be part of a modern Western democracy can no longer be dismissed as racist, but does nothing to counter the worst of those now among us. Tougher legislation and stronger policing are needed to ensure some of the problems Rachael Kohn outlines don’t get out of control here.

Name withheld by request


The Promised Land

Madam: Congratulations, Quadrant, for being a lone light in an otherwise dark woke media landscape. It is for that reason I write to protect that light, in response to Rebekah Meredith’s Letter in the January-February edition.

Ms Meredith’s position on the biblical-based right of “the Jews”—her term—to occupy the lands of Israel is contrary to the position of traditional Christianity, which needs to be noted as part of preserving Quadrant’s light. Traditional Christianity has always taught that the Abrahamic covenant was fulfilled in Jesus Christ and that the salvific promises thereof are available to all, Jew and Gentile alike. Traditional Christianity further teaches that the Mosaic Covenant, including any claim to the promised land, ended with Jesus Christ, as unequivocally set out in the Gospels and other writings in the New Testament. The tearing of the Temple curtain and the destruction of the Temple by the Romans, thus preventing Mosaic sacrifices, most obviously support this interpretation. Ms Meredith’s views are those of the US Christian Zionists, not traditional Christians, and could not be used as a credible and widely acceptable basis for a claim to any particular territory in modern-day Israel. Could I encourage Quadrant to explore this topic in depth?

Steve Christie


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