William Heinemann has acquired a non-fiction title which combines the parallel biographies of the Kommandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Hoss, and the author's great-uncle, Thomas Harding, who was responsible for tracking down and arresting Hoss.
Editor Tom Avery bought UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, at auction from Patrick Walsh at Conville & Walsh. William Heinemann will publish the title, Hanns and Rudolf, in September 2013.
Author Harding spent six years researching the story, after discovering at his great-uncle's funeral in 2006 that he had been so closely linked to the capture of Hoss. He had previously only known that his great-uncle had fled Germany in the mid-1930s and had returned, fighting for the British, towards the end of the war. Hoss oversaw the murder of some 1.3 million people over a three-year period, and was living in rural Germany when he was captured by Hanns and the Allied troops.
Avery said: "Hanns and Rudolf is not only a unique work of history, but a profound and important book-a compelling examination of the darkest side of human nature, and a deeply personal, intimate and poignant account of the Second World War and its aftermath."
Canadian rights have been pre-empted by Janie Yoon at The House of Anansi, with a US auction underway.