Gross was a short and fairly chubby middle aged man with a balding head and short black hair on the sides. He had light-colored eyes, a mustache, and mild wrinkles on his forehead and around his eyes. On duty, he wore the standard uniform of the Marley Public Security.
Gross was depicted as both merciless and sadistic; however, he was not completely heartless. He showed little care for the Eldians, such as Grisha Jaeger, and only had compassion for his family. His goal was to completely eradicate the world of Eldians. Gross was very impulsive in his way of speaking. He was extremely racist and prejudiced toward Eldians and often justified his inhumane actions by using history of oppression of Eldians toward the Marley to justify the need for revenge of the Marley to the Eldians. These actions extended to the fact he willed to kill an innocent girl just because she was an Eldian. In the end, for him, the Eldians were the enemy of mankind and they needed to be eradicated. Gross found peace to be abnormal, especially when taken for granted, and stated that death is the natural state of things and it should therefore be understood. This view of death that he held could imply that he embraced a philosophy based on a struggle for life between the races.
When Grisha Jaeger and his little sister Fay wandered outside of the Liberio Internment Zone without an exit permit to see an airship, Gross and his fellow soldier, Kruger, were slacking off by the riverside and they spotted and caught them. Kruger delivered physical punishment to Grisha while Gross walked away with Fay. However, her mutilated body was found the next day in the river and Gross, accompanied by Kruger went to the Jaegers' house and informed them of the death of their daughter. Gross claimed that he took Fay to the gates of Liberio and that it was her own fault for wandering around town without permission, to begin with.
Fifteen years later, after Grisha's son had informed on his parents and the Restorationists to the Marley Public Security, they were all caught and received life sentences for the crime of treason and were brought by a steamboat to the borderline wall of Paradis Island to be turned into mindless Titans. Gross, atop the wall with Kruger and other soldiers, was annoyed with a Restorationist's yelling and kicked him off the wall while the other soldiers started injecting the rest of the Restorationists with Titan serum and watched as they all turned into Titans and started chasing after him while Grisha yelled at them to stop and recognize Grice. Gross told Kruger to turn Grisha into a Titan but Kruger responded that he still wanted to interrogate him.
Grisha's wife was brought to be injected and Gross pitied that it was a woman and said that if only she were not a devil, and when Grisha saw his wife, he started yelling that he told the Marleyan soldiers everything about her being of royal blood, but Kruger quickly slammed his head on the wall's surface and silenced him while Gross said he could not stand his nonsense anymore and told Kruger again to shut him up and turn him into a Titan. Gross proceeded with injecting Dina and pushed her off the wall while Grisha watched his wife turn into a Titan. Grisha then confronted Gross about his little sister and said that he was the one who killed her and fed her to dogs.
Gross ordered all the other soldiers to get back to the boat and he said he remembered Grisha. He said that he would not turn him into a Titan and rather have him get eaten by the last Restorationist after turning him into a 3 or 4-meter Titan so Grisha could fight him. Grisha asked Gross why was he doing this and he said because it was fun to watch humans get eaten by monsters and that he needed that entertainment in his life. Gross injected the last Restorationist and told Grisha that it was educational when he fed his little sister to his sons' dogs.
Gross told Grisha to look down at the Titan and claimed that that is what the Eldians really were and all that it took was some Titan spinal fluid and they turn into giant monsters, with Eldians being the only creatures like that in the world and that humanity wished for every last Eldian to be eliminated from the world. Grisha said that it was a lie and that Marley was distorting history but Gross dragged him to the edge of the wall and as he was about to throw him, Kruger, to Gross and Grisha's shock, pushed Gross off the wall instead and he rolled down the sand dunes and the Titan he just turned for Grisha, grabbed him and started eating at his face.
- Gross's justification for his cruel treatment towards Eldians could be a possible reference to the philosophy of Social Darwinism, particularly the one based on Nazi ideology. According to Nazi ideology, the variations or races of humanity fight in a struggle for life much like different species of animals would in nature. However, this twisted interpretation of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was only popular around the early twentieth century, especially since the scientific community has long rejected this racist interpretation of evolution since the end of World War II, which resulted in the deaths of millions of people, including six million Jews.