This is what is a statement of Hoess at the IWM
For references purposes [warning: probably a denial site]:On 25 Nov 1900 I was born in BADEN-BADEN as son of the merchant Franz Xavier HOESS. I have two sisters who are married and who are at present living in MANNHEIM and LUDWIGSHAVEN. Their addresses are -
PUEHLER Maria - LUDWISGHAFEN-OGGERSHEIM/Rhein Bruckenweg 31.
? Grete- MANNHEIM-FREUDENHEIM, Feldstr 16
After elementary schooling I attended the Humanistische Gymnasium (Secondary School - Classiss) in MANNHEIM until "Untersecunde" (Fifth year) On 1 Aug 1916 I joined as war volunteer the Badische Dragoner Regiment 21 with the Ersatz (Reinforcement) Squadron in PRUCHSAL in BADEN. After a short training I was posted to the Asien Corps in Turkey. Until the end of 1917 I was in the Mesopotamia and from then until the Armistice I served on the Palestinian front. I was twice wounded, contracted malaria, and was decorated on several occasions.
I follow this with a long section from The Death Dealer. pages 55-59
In 1916, with the help of a captain in the cavalry whom I had met in hospital, I succeeded in quietly sneaking into the regiment in which my father and grandfather had served. I arrived at the front line after a brief period of training. All this happened without my dear mother knowing. I never saw her again because she died in 1917. I wasn't quite sixteen yet when I arrived in Turkey on the way to the Iraqi front. The fear of being discovered and sent back home, the secret training, and the long trip to Turkey made a tremendous impression on me. I had many new experiences during our layover in Istanbul, which was still rich in Oriental tradition, and on the horseback ride to the distant Iraqi front line. I've forgotten most of these impressions because they weren't important. But I do remember my first firefight with the enemy.
Right after we arrived at the front line we were assigned to a Turkish division. Our cavalry unit was divided into three regiments in order to give the Turks some backbone. As we were being assigned, the English attacked. When the shooting got heavy, the Turks ran away.
Our small German unit lay alone between the rocks and ancient ruins defending our skins in the vast expanse of desert. We didn't have much ammunition because the main supply stayed back with the horses. Very quickly I noticed that our situation was getting damned serious, especially since the explosions of the grenades were becoming more accurate. Comrade after comrade fell wounded, and the one lying next to me didn't answer my calls. When I turned to look at him, I saw he was bleeding from a large head wound and was already dead. Never again in my entire life did I experience the horror that seized me then, and the tremendous fear that the same would happen to me. If I had been alone, I would have run as the Turks did. Something kept forcing me to look at my dead comrade.
But then in desperation I looked at our captain, lying among us behind a large rock. I watched as returned the fire, shot after shot, with iron discipline. He handled the carbine of my dead comrade as if he were in a shooting gallery. Then, suddenly, a strange, rigid calm came over me that I had never known before. It became clear to me that I was also supposed to fire. Until then, I had not fire a single shot as I fearfully watched the slowly advancing Indians. I can still picture to this day a tall broad Indian with a distinct black beard, jumping from a pile of rocks. For a moment I hesitated, the body next to me filling my whole mind, then I pulled myself together even though I was very much shaken. I fired and watched the Indian slump forward during his jump. He didn't move. I really can't say if I aimed correctly. He was my first kill! The spell was broken. Still unsure of myself, I began firing and firing, just as they had taught me in training. I didn't think about the danger anymore because my captain who was nearby kept shouting encouragement.
The attack bogged down as the Indians noticed that there was resistance. In the meantime the Turks had been driven forward again and now a counterattack began. That day we recovered a large part of the ground we had lost. During the advance I hesitated and reluctantly looked at my kill. It made me feel a little squeamish. It was so exciting for me that I can't say whether I wounded or killed any more Indians during this first firefight. After the first shot I aimed and shot carefully at those who emerged from cover. My captain mentioned his amazement at how cool I was during this, my first firefight, my baptism of fire. If he had only known what was really going on inside me!
Later I told him how scared I had been. He laughed about it and said that every soldier had more or less gone through the same experience. I was strange for me to have such a great trust in my captain, my soldier father. I worshiped him a great deal.
It was a much more intimate relationship than I had with my own father. The captain always kept me in his sight. Even though he never let me get away with anything, he always liked me and worried about me as if I were his son. He did not like me to go on long-range reconnaissance patrols, but he always gave in to my constant nagging. He was especially proud when I was decorated or promoted, but he himself never recommended me When he died in the spring of 1918 during the second battle of the Jordan, I mourned for him with great pain. His death really hit me hard.
In early 1917 our outfit was transferred to the Palestine front in the Holy Land. All the familiar names from religion, from history, and from the legends about the saints came back to me again. And how different it was from the way we pictured it in our youthful fantasies from descriptions and pictures. At first they used us at the Hejaz railway station, then later at the front lines near Jerusalem.
One morning, as we returned from a long reconnaissance ride on the far side of the Jordan River, we met a line of farmers' carts loaded with moss in the Jordan Valley. We had to check all vehicles and pack animals for guns because the English tried in every way imaginable to deliver guns and ammunition to the Arabs and to other nationalities who wanted to overthrow Turkish rule. We asked the farmers to unload their carts and started to talk to them through an interpreter, who was a young Jewish boy. They explained to us that they were bring the moss to the monasteries for the pilgrims. They didn't make any sense to us at all.
A short time later I was wounded and taken to a field hospital in a German settlement in Wilhelma, between Jerusalem and Jaffa. The settlers there had emigrated a generation before for religious reasons, from the state of Wuerttemburg in Germany. In the hospital, I learned from these people that there was a very profitable trade in the great quantities of moss brought to Jerusalem. The moss is an icelandic variety, grey-white netting with red dots. The pilgrims were told that the moss came from Golgotha and that the red dots were the blood of Jesus. It was sold for a great deal of money. The settlers openly told us about the profitable business there was from pilgrims in peacetime when thousands flocked to the holy places. The pilgrims, they said, would buy anything connected with the holy places or with the saints. The large pilgrim monasteries were the best at it. They tried everything to get as much money from the pilgrims as possible. After I got out of the hospital I looked into this in Jerusalem. Because of the war there weren't many pilgrims, but there were many German and Austrian soldiers. Later I saw the same thing going on in Nazareth. I talked about it with my comrades because this trivial traffic in so-called holy objects by the Church disgusted me. Most of my comrades didn't care and said that if the people were so dumb to fall for such a fraud, they would just have to pay for their stupidity. Others just thought of it as a tourist industry which happens at special places. Only a few, as deeply Catholic as I was, condemned these activities of the Church. They too were disgusted by the sick manipulations of the sincere religious feelings of the pilgrims who often sold everything they owned just to see the holy places once in their lives.
For a long time after my discharge from the army I tried to come to terms with what I experienced, and this was probably the reason I later left the Church. I would like to state that the comrades of my outfit were all staunch Catholics from the Black Forest. During that time I never heard any words spoken against the Church.
In the hospital at Wilhelma, a young German nurse took care of me. It was at this time that I had my first sexual experience. I had been shot through the knee and also suffered a terrible relapse of malaria which lasted quite long. I needed special care and had to be watched closely, since I caused a great deal of damage during my delirious ravings due to fever. This nurse took care of me so well that my mother couldn't have done better. As time passed I noticed that it wasn't motherly love which caused her to nurse me in such a loving way. I had never been in love with a woman until then. I had heard about sex in discussions with my comrades and the way soldiers talk is quite explicit, but I didn't have desires perhaps because of the lack of opportunity. Also, the hardships and strains of the campaign didn't exactly bring out feelings of love. Her tender caresses, the way she propped me up and held me, confused me at first, because I had always avoided showing affection, but now I was under the magic spell of love and saw her with different eyes. This love for me was a miraculous experience. She led me through all the steps of love making, including intercourse. I would not have had the courage to do this. This first experience of love, with all its tenderness and affection, became the guideline for the rest of my life. I never again could joke about sex. Sexual intercourse without affection became unthinkable for me. So I was spared from having affairs and from the brothels.
World War I ended. I had matured far beyond my age, both inside and out. The experience of war had put an indelible mark on me. I had torn myself from the security of my parents' home and my horizons had widened. In two and a half years I had seen and experienced a great deal. I met people from all walks of life and had seen their needs and weaknesses. The schoolboy who had run away from homes and trembled with fear during his first battle had become a rough, tough soldier. At the age of seventeen I was decorated with the Iron Cross and I was the youngest sergeant in the army. After my promotion to sergeant I was sent on deep reconnaissance missions most of the time. It was then I learned that leadership does not depend on rank, but on better knowledge. The ice-cold, unshakable calm of the leader is decisive in difficult situations. I also learned how hard it was to be an example and to keep a straight face, even though inside there were fears and doubts.
At the time of the armistice, we were in Damascus, Syria. I had definitely made up my mind not to put in a POW camp under any circumstances. I had decided to fight my way back to the Fatherland by own power. The Army Corps advised against it. After asking around, all the men of my platoon volunteered to fight their way back with me. Since the spring of 1918 I was leading my own cavalry platoon. All the men were in their thirties; I was only eighteen.
Our adventure took us through Anatolia. We sailed on a miserable derelict ship across the Black Sea to Varna and rode on through Bulgaria and Rumania. We traveled the deepest snows through the Translyvanian Alps, on through Translyvania, Hungary, Austria, and finally we reached the Homeland. After months of helplessly wandering about with no maps; using only the geography we learned in school, requisitioning food for men and horses, fighting our way through Rumania, which had become our enemy again, we reported to our reserve unit. No one at home expect us to make it back. As far as I know, no complete unit ever returned home from that theatre of war.