The Life and
Death of My Father,
A Son's Struggle for His Father's Honor
The Life and Death of My Father,
The Life and Death of My Father,
British Intelligence Reports
on Capture of Rudolf Hess
Why Hess Flew: A New View.(further revelations
in the Rudolf Hess flight to Scotland in 1941 Author/s: John Harris
An article found on the internet concerning
Hess's and Hitler's correspondence with
The Life and Death of My Father,
Wolf Rüdiger Hess
(Presented by videotape at the Eleventh IHR
When my father flew to Scotland on May 10, 1941, I
was three-and-a-half years old. As a result, I have only very few personal
memories of him in freedom. One of them is a memory of him pulling me out of the
garden pond. On another occasion, when I was screaming because a bat had somehow
gotten into the house. I can still recall his comforting voice as he carried it
to the window and released it into the night.
In the years that followed, I learned who my father
was, and about his role in history, only bit by bit. Slowly, I came to
understand the martyrdom he endured as a prisoner in the Allied Military Prison in
Berlin-Spandau for 40 long years--half a life-time.
Growing Up in Egypt and Germany
My father was born in Alexandria, Egypt, on April
26, 1894, the first son of Fritz Hess, a respected and well-to-do merchant. The
Hess family personified the prosperity, standing and self-assurance of the
German Reich of that period. They also personified all those things that aroused
envy, fear and a combative spirit on the part of Britain and other great powers.
Fritz Hess owned an imposing house with a beautiful
garden on the Mediterranean coast. His family, which came from Wunsiedel in the
Fichtelgebirge region of Germany, owned another house in Reicholdsgr_n, in
Bavaria, where they regularly spent their summer holidays. The source of this
wealth was a trading firm, Hess & Co., that Fritz Hess had inherited from
his father, and which he managed with considerable success.
His eldest son, Rudolf, was a pupil at the German
Protestant School in Alexandria. His future appeared to be determined by both
family tradition and his father's strong hand: he would inherit the property and
the firm, and would, accordingly, become a merchant. Young Rudolf, though, was
not very inclined toward this kind of life.
Instead, he felt drawn toward the sciences, above
all physics and mathematics. His abilities in these fields became obvious as a
student at the Bad Godesberg Educational Institute, a boarding school for boys
in Germany that he atted between September 15, 1908, and Easter, 1911. In spite
of this, his father insisted that he complete his secondary school education by
passing an examination that would permit him to enter the _cole Sup_rieur de
Commerce at Neuch_tel in Switzerland, after which he became an apprentice in a
Hamburg trading company.
Front Line Combat Service
These well-laid plans were soon to change. The start
of the First World War in 1914 found the family at its vacation home in Bavaria.
Rudolf Hess, then 20 years of age, did not hesitate for a moment before
reporting as a volunteer with the Bavarian Field Artillery. A short time later,
he was transferred to the infantry, and by November 4, 1914, he was serving as a
poorly trained recruit at the front, where he took part in the trench warfare of
the first battle of the Somme.
Along with most young Germans of that time, Rudolf
Hess went to the front as a fervent patriot acutely conscious of Germany's
cause, which he regarded as entirely just, and determined to defeat the
British-French arch-enemy. After six months of front-line service, my father was
promoted to lance corporal. To his men he was an exemplary comrade, always the
first to volunteer for raids and reconnaissance patrols. In bloody battles among
the barbed wire, trenches and shell craters, he distinguished himself by his
cheerful composure, courage and bravery.
By 1917 he had been promoted to the rank of
Lieutenant. But he also paid the price of this "career" advancement:
He was gravely wounded in 1916, and again in 1917 when a rifle bullet pierced
his left lung.
A Humiliating and Vengeful Peace
Scarred by the hardships and wounds of front line
duty, on December 12, 1918--that is, after the humiliating armistice of
Compi_gne --Rudolf Hess was "discharged from active military service to
Reicholdsgr_n without maintenance," as the official army record rather
baldly puts it. That is, without pay, pension or disability allowance.
Already during the war, the family had lost its
considerable holdings in Egypt as a result of British expropriation. Now the
defeat of the German Empire in the First World War brought wrenching, even
catastrophic changes in the life of the Hess family.
For Rudolf Hess, though, the grim fate suffered by
his fatherland in defeat and revolution weighed more heavily than this private
misfortune. In spite of the military armistice, the victorious powers maintained
a starvation blockade against Germany until the imposition of the Treaty of
Versailles in June 1919. The Treaty itself was little more than a vengeful
"peace of annihilation" dictated by the victorious powers and accepted
by the German National Assembly only under protest and the threat of further
On May 12, 1919, in a moving address that has since
become famous, Reich Chancellor Philipp Scheidemann, a Social Democrat,
... Allow me to speak entirely without tactical
considerations. What our discussions are concerned with, this thick book in
which a hundred paragraphs begin with "Germany renounces,
renounces," this most atrocious and murderous hammer of evil by which a
great people is extorted and black mailed into acknowledging its own
unworthiness, accepting its merciless dismemberment, consenting to enslavement
and serfdom, this book must not become the statute book of the future ... I
ask you: Who, as an honest man--I will not even say as a German, only as an
honest man loyal to the terms of a treaty--can submit to such conditions? What
hand that submits itself and us to such shackles would not wither? Moreover,
we must exert ourselves, we must toil, work as slaves for international
capitalism, work unpaid for the entire world!
... If this treaty is actually signed, it will not
be just Germany's corpse that remains on the battlefield of Versailles. Beside
it will lie equally noble corpses: the right of self-determination of peoples,
the indepence of free nations, belief in all the fine ideals under whose
banner the Allies claimed to fight, and, above all, belief in loyalty to the
terms of a treaty.
Scheidemann's words leave scarcely any doubt that as
a result of the "vae victis" of the governments of the Allied and
Associated powers, Germany's very existence as a prosperous and unified nation
was brought into question. As far-sighted men of the time correctly observed,
the Constitution of the "Weimar Republic" (1919-1933) was, in a real
sense, not the one that the German parliament formally adopted on August 11,
1919. It was rather, imposed by the dictated Treaty of Versailles on June 28,
1919. As a result of the Treaty, each of the numerous governments of the
"Weimar Republic" was inevitably faced with the same insurmountable
problem. Each administration was obliged to carry out the Treaty's countless
oppressive and devastating conditions, and thus act as an "agent" of
the victorious powers. Each new government thus unavoidably discredited itself
in the eyes of the people it represented, and therefore committed a kind of
Meeting With Hitler
One political leader, though, defiantly vowed from
the outset never to permit himself or his party to be blackmailed. This man was
Adolf Hitler, and his party was the National Socialist German Workers' Party.
Like many of his fellow citizens, my father was appalled and deeply shocked by
the conditions that had developed in Germany, and he resolved to fight against
the "Diktat" of Versailles. The catastrophic state of affairs he found
in Munich after his return from the front defied his ability to describe them.
Like most of his comrades, Hess was drawn into the war in 1914 to fight for a
free, strong and proud Germany. Now, in 1919, the 26-year-old had to witness the
establishment in Bavaria of a "Soviet republic" headed by communists
and Jews. In his eyes, military defeat had given way to national catastrophe.
In a letter written to a cousin some time later, he
graphically described his feelings at the time:
You know how I suffer under the situation to which
our once proud nation has been brought. I have fought for the honor of our
flag where a man of my age had of course to fight, where conditions were at
their worst, in dirt and mud, in the hell of Verdun, Artois and elsewhere. I
have witnessed the horror of death in all its forms, been hammered for days
under heavy bombardment, slept in a dugout in which lay half of a Frenchman's
dead body. I have hungered and suffered, as indeed have all frontline
soldiers. And is all this to be in vain, the suffering of the good people at
home all for nothing? I have learned from you what you women have had to live
through! No, if all this has been in vain, I would still today regret that I
did not put a bullet through my brain on the day the monstrous armistice
conditions and their acceptance were published. I did not do it at the time
solely in the hope that in one way or another I might still be able to do
something to reverse fate.
From then on, he was consumed by the conviction that
he could "reverse fate," and by the determination to act on this
conviction. During the winter of 1918-19, in a humiliated Germany shaken by
communist riots, tormented by ad hoc governments of "workers' and soldiers'
soviets," he still recognized--in spite of his discouragement--the
possibility of renewal for the people for whom he had been ready to lay down his
Now determined to fight against the obvious efforts
to subjugate Germany, his feelings of despair turned into burning indignation
and motivating rage.
As a result, he was almost inevitably drawn to the
one political force that, as he had correctly sensed from the outset, was in a
position to break the shackles imposed upon the German people at Versailles.
Like millions of other Germans, he followed this movement's leader--but he did
so earlier and with greater dedication than most of the others. Along with his
fellow citizens, he was convinced of the justice of the cause for which he
fought-- restoration of Germany's national rights and standing by breaking
the chains of Versailles.
The National Socialist German Workers' Party was
founded in Munich in January 1919. Hitler joined a few months later, and quickly
became its most prominent speaker. It was sometime in May 1920, at an evening
meeting of this small group in a room adjoining the Sternecker brewery in
Munich, when Hess first heard Hitler speak. When he returned home that evening
to the small guest house where he was living, he enthusiastically told the girl
who lived in the adjacent room, Ilse Pr_h--whom he was later to marry:
The day after tomorrow you must come with me to a
meeting of the National Socialist Workers' Party. Someone unknown will be
speaking; I can't remember his name. But if anyone can free us from
Versailles, he is the man. This unknown man will restore our honor.
My father became member number sixteen of the group
on July 1, 1920. >From that time on he was slowly but steadily drawn to its
leader. There were several reasons for his enthusiasm for Hitler. First, there
were reasons of practical policy, which Hess formulated in these words in a
letter written in 1921:
The core of the matter is that Hitler is convinced
that [national] resurrection is possible only if we can succeed in leading the
great mass of people, in particular the workers, back to national awareness.
But this is possible only in the context of reasonable, honest socialism.
Second, Hess had a personal reason, which was
Hitler's eloquence. In a letter to a friend written in 1924, my father described
the effect of this gift:
You won't find more than once a man who at a mass
meeting can enrapture the most left-wing lathe operator just as much as the
right-wing senior executive. This man, within two hours, made the thousand
communists who had come to break up [the meeting] stand and join in the
national anthem at the [as in Munich in 1921], and this man, within three
hours, in a special address to a few hundred industrialists and the Minister
President [or provincial governor], who had come more or less to oppose him,
secured their full approval or speechless astonishment.
Rudolf Hess was convinced that Hitler could not fail
to break the chains of Versailles and then carry out a political change of
direction that promised a better future.
In the years before it gained large-scale support
from voters, the National Socialist party was a small Bavarian phenomenon, and
Hitler's place in national politics was insignificant. Not even Hitler's
recognized ability as an speaker was at first able to change this. During the
period from 1924 until 1929, when normal conditions seemed to return in Germany,
despite Versailles, Hitler was not well known. The only exception was in 1923,
when he gained brief notoriety for his role in the November 9th "March on
the Feldherrnhalle" in Munich, and the ill-fated attempt to overthrow the
government there. In the course of this unsuccessful putsch, my father arrested
three ministers of the Bavarian state government. For his role in the coup
attempt, Hitler was punished with imprisonment in the Landsberg fortress, where
my father later joined him.
Victory in Political Struggle
It was during that time of incarceration that Hitler
and my father established the special relationship of trust and mutual
confidence that stamped the image of the party's leadership in later years. It
was also in Landsberg that Hitler wrote his well-known, seminal work, Mein Kampf.
My father edited the pages of the manuscript and checked them for errors. Hitler
was released early on December 20, 1924. Four months later, in April 1925 my
father became Adolf Hitler's private secretary, at a monthly salary of 500
In the first years of the 1930s, the impact of the
Great Depression and the political disintegration of the Weimar Republic set the
stage for Hitler's seizure of power in January 1933. As a result of its
well-organized propaganda campaigns, which were in turn due to its
quasi-military cohesion and discipline, the National Socialist party gained
greater and greater electoral support from ever broader segments of the
population. And as employment increased, more and more jobless workers also
turned to the National Socialists, many of them defecting directly from
Germany's large Communist Party.
During the hectic days of January 1933, my father
never left Hitler's side. In a hand-written letter to his wife, dated January
31, 1933--that is, the day after Hitler became Chancellor--the 38-year-old
Rudolf Hess recorded his feelings during this moment of triumph:
Am I dreaming or am I awake--that is the question
of the moment! I am sitting in the Chancellor's office in the Wilhelmsplatz.
Senior civil servants approach noiselessly on soft carpets to submit documents
"for the Reich Chancellor," who is at the moment chairing a Cabinet
meeting and preparing the government's initial measures. Outside, the public
stands patiently, packed together and waiting for 'him' to drive away--they
start to sing the national anthem and shout "Heil" to the "Führer"
or to the "Reich Chancellor." And then I start to shake and I have
to clench my teeth --just as I did yesterday when the "Führer"
returned from [his meeting with] the Reich President as "Reich
Chancellor," and summoned me to his bedroom in the Kaiserhof hotel from
among the mass of leaders waiting in the reception room--when what I had
considered impossible right up to the last moment became reality.
I was firmly convinced that everything would, of
course, go wrong at the last moment. And the Chief also admitted to me that a
few times things were on a knife-edge because of the intransigence of the old
weasel in the Cabinet [a reference to Alfred Hugenberg, coalition partner and
chairman of the German National People's Party].
The evening torchlight procession marched before
the delighted old gentleman [President von Hindenburg], who bore it until the
last SA man [stormtrooper] had passed at about midnight ... Then came the
jubilation directed to the Führer, mixing with that directed to the Reich
President. The hours of men and women pushing past, holding up their children
facing the Führer, young girls and boys, their faces radiant when they
recognized "him" at the window of the Reich Chancellery-- how sorry
I was that you were not there!
The Chief behaves with incredible assurance. And
the punctuality!!!! Always a few minutes ahead of time!!! I have even had to
make up my mind to buy a watch. A new era and a new time schedule has dawned!
All this was written on a sheet of paper with a
letterhead reading "The Reich Chancellor." Hess had, however, crossed
out the Gothic lettering with his pen. The next day, in a follow up letter dated
February 1, he concluded with the words: "One stage towards victory is now,
I hope, finally behind us. The second difficult period of the struggle has
On April 21, 1933, Hitler appointed Hess as Deputy Führer
of the National Socialist party. His job was to lead the governing party as
Hitler's representative, and to uphold its national and social principles. Eight
months later, on December 1, 1933, Reich President Hindenburg -- acting on
Hitler's proposal -- appointed Hess as Reich Minister without Portfolio. At the
outbreak of war in September 1939, Hitler named Reich Marshal Hermann Göring as
deputy head of state. But this does not alter the fact that Hess remained
Hitler's close confidant, and a man he could trust without reservation.
Gathering Clouds of War
The most important result of the European political
developments of 1937 and 1938, which reached a climax in the "Sudeten
crisis" of 1938, was that Britain continued to strengthen its ties with the
United States. As a condition of US assistance in the event of war, President
Roosevelt demanded from British premier Chamberlain certain commitments in the
field of political stability. It was under this pressure that Britain and France
then concluded a military agreement in February 1939. In addition, the two
western European democracies, bowing to Roosevelt's claim to lead world policy,
gave guarantees to Holland, Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Greece and Turkey--in
other words, to all of Germany's neighbors in the West and East--which Hitler
considered Germany's rightful domain.
From this point on, Britain, France and Poland--with
America behind them--decided which of Hitler's revisions of the conditions
imposed by Versailles they would regard as reason for, or even merely a pretext
for, war against the German Reich. Even if Hitler refrained from further
revisionist policies, from now on the question of war or peace was no longer
solely in his own hands.
At the time of Britain's "blank check"
guarantee to Poland in March 1939, Hitler had not yet finally resolved to attack
Poland. But every western political leader was aware that this fateful guarantee
was an significant step closer to war. Indeed, important figures in western
circles and among the anti-Hitler opposition in Germany calculated that Hitler
would react to this new Polish depence on Britain, France and the USA with
military action. It was hoped that this would mean not only war, but Hitler's
own downfall. This was confirmed by Chamberlain in his diary entry of September
10, 1939: "My hope is not a military victory--I doubt very much whether
that is possible--but a collapse on the German home front."
On September 1, 1939, the German armed forces
commenced the attack against Poland. Two days later, Britain and France declared
war against the German Reich. The fact that these governments did not also
declare war against Soviet Russia, which invaded Poland on September 17, 1939
(in accord with the provisions of the German-Soviet pact of August 23, 1939),
clearly shows that the British guarantee to Poland--like the British-French
declaration of war against Germany--was motivated not by concern for Poland but
rather was directed against Germany.
Four weeks later, Poland was shattered and the
country was divided between Germany and Russia--without a single shot being
fired in the West. Britain and France had done nothing for their Polish ally,
and now Hitler began to plan an attack against France. At the same time, he
hoped that Britain would make peace with him, while accepting the hegemony of a
now-powerful Germany in eastern Europe. He believed that Britain would agree to
this now that Poland was prostrate, or at the latest after a German victory over
After Germany's lightning victory over Poland, and
before the German attack on France in May 1940, Hitler made the first of his
numerous attempts to the war in the West. His peace offer of September 12, 1939,
accompanied by the assurance that under his leadership Germany would never
capitulate, was a feeler. It was supported by Stalin, but rejected by
Chamberlain and French premier Daladier.
Only after all hopes of peace with France and
Britain were dashed did Hitler order an attack against France. It commenced on
May 10, 1940, and France collapsed on June 21, 1940. The Franco-German armistice
was signed on June 22 in the same railway dining car in Compi_gne in which the
Germans had signed the humiliating armistice of November 1918.
No one had foreseen such a swift German victory over
France. As a result of this stunning achievement, Hitler had made himself ruler
of the continent of Europe, from the Atlantic to the Bug river [in Poland], and
from the North Cape to Sicily. But Britain still stood in the way of his goal of
a free hand on the continent. Accordingly, during his visit in June 1940 to the
sites of Germany's successful military campaigns, Hitler once again expressed
his desire to reach a comprehensive peace agreement with Britain. It was at that
time that his Deputy, Rudolf Hess, decided that--if it became necessary--he
would make a personal effort to achieve a vital peace with Britain.
Flight for Peace
What really happened between June 1940 and May 10,
1941, the day my father took off in a Messerschmitt 110 to Scotland, is known
only in outline because the relevant British documents still remain classified.
The Hess papers that were released in Britain with great fanfare in June 1992
proved to be disappointing. Among these approximately two thousand pages was
absolutely nothing of real substance about the secret contacts that existed
between Britain and Germany, about the British peace group (which included
members of the royal family) and its peace feelers to Germany, or about the role
played by the British secret service prior to the flight. In short, these papers
contained nothing that would show why my father seriously hoped that his mission
might well turn out successfully.
In any case, it can be said with certainty that the
still-classified British documents contain nothing that will reflect badly on
Rudolf Hess or the policies of the German government of that time. Moreover, it
can be stated with certainty that the documents that the British government
continues to keep secret will reflect badly on the wartime British government of
Winston Churchill. I will go further to say that these suppressed documents
confirm that Churchill sought to prolong the war, with all the suffering,
destruction and death that implies.
Some may dismiss this statement as unjustified and
self-serving. In this regard, I would therefore like to cite the words of a
British historian who has carried out extensive research on precisely this
aspect of that dreadful conflict. In Ten Days To Destiny: The Secret Story of
the Hess Peace Initiative and British Efforts to Strike a Deal with Hitler (New
York: W. Morrow, 1991) [available from the IHR], John Costello concludes that it
would have been quite possible to bring the European war to an before it turned
into a world war, if only the British government had made even the slightest
move to do so.
In Ten Days To Destiny [on pages 17 to 19], Costello
writes the following revealing sentences:
Until the British government reverses current
policy and releases the relevant section of its historic intelligence service
archives, it may be impossible to determine whether the clandestine contacts
with Germany that evidently played a part in bringing Hess to Scotland on the
night of May 10 were a secret service triumph or part of a sinister peace plot
that ran out of control. What is now indisputable is that the Hess mission was
very far from being the "brainstorm" of Hitler's deluded deputy that
it is still being portrayed as by distinguished British historians. The
documentary evidence that has now come to light [which, I might add
parenthetically, is only the tip of the iceberg] shows that it was the outcome
of an interlocking sequence of secret British and German peace manoeuvres that
can be tracked right back to the summer of 1940. The pieces of this jigsaw
puzzle are now falling into place to show that: [...]
- Hitler's order halting the Panzer advance on
Dunkirk was a carefully timed stratagem to persuade the British and French
governments to seek a compromise peace.
- A majority of the [Churchill] War Cabinet had
decided to trade off Gibraltar and Malta in return for keeping control of
- An alarmed President Roosevelt secretly sought
Canadian help to stop the British accepting a "soft peace" deal
- French leaders believed on May 24, 1940, that
Britain would not fight on but accept a joint peace deal brokered by
Mussolini at the of May 1940.
- Churchill--and Britain--survived only because
the Prime Minister resorted to ruthless Machiavellian intrigue and a
high-stakes bluff to stop a wobbly Foreign Secretary talking the War
Cabinet into a peace deal engineered by R.A. Butler. When France fell,
Lord Halifax's Under Secretary actually passed a message to Berlin that
"common sense and not bravado" dictated that Britain should
negotiate, not fight Hitler. [...]
- Two days after Churchill had promised "we
shall never surrer," Lord Halifax and R.A. Butler signalled to Berlin
via Sweden that a British peace proposal would be made after the French
armistice on June 18, 1940.
- Ambassador Kennedy had been in clandestine
contact with Hitler's emissaries trying to stop the war while the British
government suspected him of illegally profiting from Treasury information
to make a killing in international stock and securities dealings. [...]
- The Duke of Windsor and other members of the
Royal Family encouraged German expectations that peace would eventually be
- Hess' plan to fly to Scotland took shape in the
final days of the battle for France and was encouraged in September 1940
by his discovery that Britain continued putting out peace feelers via
Switzerland and Spain.
- MI5 [the British secret service] intercepted
Hess' first peace initiative and then turned it into a
"double-cross" operation to snare Hess into a trap baited by the
Duke of Hamilton and the British Ambassadors in Switzerland and Madrid.
- Hess' dramatic arrival left Churchill with no
choice but to bury the affair in distortion and official silence in order
to protect not only the Duke of Hamilton but senior Tory colleagues who
even in 1941 remained convinced that an honorable peace could be struck
For more than fifty years the cloak of British
secrecy has clouded and distorted the record. The official histories carefully
masked the roles played by the key players in the year-long effort to strike a
deal with Hitler behind Churchill's back. Just how close this peace plotting
came to succeeding has been concealed to protect the reputations of the British
politicians and diplomats who had believed that Hitler was less of a menace to
the Empire than Stalin ...
Churchill also had his own reasons for burying his
wartime quarrels with other leading members of the Conservative Party. He did
not want any scandal to sully the glory of his leadership during the Battle of
Britain and the "white glow, overpowering and sublime, which ran through
our Island from to ."2
Britain's "Finest Hour" and Churchill's
own role in forging it were enshrined as one of the most illustrious chapters in
British history. His visionary courage had created, by words rather than
military substance, the British people's belief that, against the overwhelming
odds, they could defy Hitler in 1940.
No one knows for sure whether my father undertook
his flight with the knowledge and blessing of Adolf Hitler. Both men are now
dead. All the available evidence, though, suggests that Hitler knew in advance
of the flight:
First: Just a few days before his flight, my father
had a private meeting with Hitler that lasted four hours. It is known that the
two men raised their voices during portions of their talk, and that when they
were finished, Hitler accompanied his Deputy to the ante-room, put his arm
soothingly around his shoulder, and said: "Hess, you really are
Second: The relationship between Hitler and Hess was
so close and intimate that one can logically assume that Hess would not have
undertaken such an important step in the middle of a war without first informing
Third: Although Hess' adjutants and secretaries were
imprisoned after the flight, Hitler intervened to protect Hess' family. He saw
to it that a pension was paid to Hess' wife, and he sent a personal telegram of
condolence to Hess' mother when her husband died in October 1941.
Fourth: Among the papers released in June 1992 by
the British authorities are two farewell letters my father wrote on June 14,
1941, the day before he tried to commit suicide in Mytchett Place, in England.
The letters were written after he realized that his peace mission had definitely
failed. One was addressed to Hitler and the other to his family. Both clearly
confirm that his close relationship with Hitler still existed. If he had
undertaken his now-obviously failed mission without Hitler's prior knowledge,
his relationship with Hitler clearly would no longer still have been one of
And, fifth: Gauleiter Ernst Bohle, the Hess
confident and high-ranking official who had helped my father to translate some
papers into English, remained convinced until his death that all this was done
with Hitler's knowledge and approval.
Suppressing Historical Evidence
A general comment on the information available about
my father's peace proposals is in order: During the entire forty-year period of
his imprisonment in Spandau, he was prohibited from speaking openly about his
mission. This "gag order" was obviously imposed because he knew things
that, if publicly known, would be highly embarrassing to the British government,
and possibly to the US and Soviet governments as well.
As a result, contemporary historical research
remains entirely depent on the British documents. British authorities have
announced that many important documents from the Hess files will remain under
lock and key until the year 2017. The entire matter was handled so secretly that
no more than a handful of individuals around Churchill were really in the know.
The proposals, plans or offers brought by Hess have remained secret in the
archives right up to the present. As long as these documents remain secret, the
world will not know the precise nature of the peace proposals that my father
brought with him to present to the British government in May 1941. All this
must, of course, be taken into consideration in any serious assessment of my
father's historic flight.
One indication that Hess said more than is now known
is contained in a note prepared on June 3, 1941, by Ralph Murray of the
"Political Warfare Executive"--a top secret British government
agency--for Sir Reginald Leeper, head of the secret service section of the
Foreign Office. This document suggests that Secretary of State Cadogan also had
a conversation with Rudolf Hess.
The purpose and context of this conversation still
cannot be determined: The available information is still not complete.
Nevertheless, it appears that during the course of this conversation the Deputy
Führer was even more specific and detailed about his proposals than he was in
some later conversations.
These were Hess' proposals:
One: Germany and Britain would reach a compromise on
world-wide policy based on the status quo. That is, Germany would not attack
Russia to secure German Lebensraum ["living space"].
Two: Germany would drop its claims to its former
colonies, and would acknowledge British hegemony at sea. In return, Britain
would acknowledge continental Europe as a German sphere of interest.
Three: The then-current relationship of military
strength between Germany and Britain in the air and on the sea would be
maintained. That is, Britain would not receive any reinforcements from the
United States. Although there was no mention of land forces, it can be assumed
that this balance of forces would be maintained in this regard as well.
Four: Germany would withdraw from "Metropolitan
France" [European France] after the total disarmament of the French army
and navy. German commissioners would remain in French North Africa, and German
troops would remain in Libya for five years after the conclusion of peace.
Five: Within two years after the conclusion of
peace, Germany would establish satellite states in Poland, Denmark, the
Netherlands, Belgium and Serbia. However, Germany would withdraw from Norway,
Romania, Bulgaria and Greece (except for Crete, which German parachutists had
taken at the of May, 1941). After some rounding-off in the East, North, West and
South (Austria and Bohemia-Moravia were apparently to remain within the Reich),
Germany would thus concede Britain's position in the eastern Mediterranean and
the Middle East.
Six: Germany would recognize Ethiopia and the Red
Sea as a British sphere of influence.
Seven: The person to whom the Deputy Führer was
speaking was somewhat confused about whether Italy had approved Hess' peace
proposals. Hess himself said nothing about this, although points four and six
would have considerably affected Italian interests.
Eight: Rudolf Hess admitted that Hitler had agreed
in advance to the official "cover story" put out in Germany that he
was of "unsound mind."
This peace proposal would indeed have brought peace
to the world in 1941. If Britain had negotiated with Germany on this basis, the
German attack against Russia--which began less than three weeks later, on June
22, 1941--would not have taken place, because Hitler would have obtained what he
needed for survival: control of the continent. The war would have withered away
on all fronts.
Instead, as we know, the war continued --bringing
destruction, suffering and death on an almost unimaginable scale--because the
outstretched hand of peace was rejected by Churchill and Roosevelt. The peace
they sought was a Carthaginian one. Their sole war aim was the destruction of
After initial interviews with Rudolf Hess conducted
by the Duke of Hamilton and Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick in Glasgow, my father was
interviewed on June 9, 1941, by Lord Simon, the Lord Chancellor, and on
September 9, 1941, by Lord Beaverbrook, Minister for Aircraft Production. A few
days later, Beaverbrook flew to Moscow to arrange for military aid to the Soviet
Union. These two interviews were motivated not by any desire for peace, but were
instead merely to pry out any possible military secrets from Hess.
After September 1941 my father was completely
isolated. On June 25, 1942, he was transferred to Abergavenny in south Wales,
where he was kept prisoner until he was flown to Nuremberg on October 8, 1945,
to stand trial as a "major war criminal" and as the second-ranking defendant in the so-called "International Military Tribunal."
I will not go into detail here about this shameful
"victors' trial of the vanquished," except to note that even the
Tribunal's Allied judges had to exonerate my father of the charges of "war
crimes" and "crimes against humanity," but ruled that he--the one
man who had risked his life to secure peace--was guilty of "crimes against
peace," and, on that basis, sentenced him to life imprisonment! The court's
treatment of Hess is alone more than enough to dismiss the Nuremberg Tribunal as
a vengeful victors' kangaroo court that merely preted to be a genuine forum of
Along with six Nuremberg co-defants, my father was
transferred on July 18, 1947, to the grim fortress in the Spandau district of
Berlin that was designated the Allied Military Prison.
The regulations under which the seven prisoners were
held were so severe that even the French prison chaplain, Casalis, protested (in
1948) against their outrageous treatment. He went on to describe Spandau as a
place of mental torture. In October 1952, after two years of protracted
discussion between the custodial powers, the Soviets agreed to following
so-called "special privileges": One visit of thirty minutes a month.
One letter a week of no more than 1,300 words. Medical attention in the prison.
And, in the event of death, interment of the ashes in the prison instead of
scattering in the wind.
After the release of Albert Speer and Baldur von
Schirach on October 1, 1966, Rudolf Hess was the only remaining inmate. For more
than twenty years, my father was the sole prisoner in a prison designed for
about six hundred.
After a further revision of regulations in the early
1970s, one member of the family was permitted to visit the prisoner for one hour
once a month. The prisoner was now also permitted to receive four books each
month. As before, visits, letters and books were strictly censored. No reference
to the events of the 1933 to 1945 period was permitted. No mention of the
Tribunal's sentence, or matters related to it, was permitted. Family visits were
monitored by authorities of each of the four powers, as well as by at least two
guards. No physical contact--not even a handshake--was permitted. The visits
took place in a special "Visitor's Room," which had a partition with
an open "window.'
My father was allowed to receive four daily
newspapers, and after the mid-1970s, he was allowed to watch television.
However, newspapers and television were censored along the lines mentioned
above. My father was not permitted to watch any television news reports.
For many years my father refused visits from members
of his family on the grounds that because of the conditions under which such
visits were permitted, they were an offense to his honor and dignity, and were
more aggravating than pleasurable. He changed his mind in November 1969, when he
became severely ill and had to struggle to stay alive. Under these
circumstances, and because of new conditions for visits, he agreed to a visit by
my mother, Ilse Hess, and myself in the British Military Hospital in Berlin.
Thus, on December 24, 1969, my mother and I visited him for the first time since
my childhood. This was the only occasion when two persons were permitted to
visit him at the same time.
After being returned to the Allied Military Prison
in Spandau, he agreed to further visits. In the years that followed, members of
the family visited Rudolf Hess 232 times altogether. Only the closest members of
his family were allowed to meet with him: that is, his wife, his sister, his
niece, his nephew, my wife and myself. It was forbidden to shake hands or
embrace. Presents were also forbidden, even on birthdays or at Christmas.
My father's attorney, retired Bavarian state
minister Dr. Alfred Seidl, was permitted to meet with his client only six times
in all during the forty year period from July 1947 to August 1987. Dr. Seidl was
also subjected to the strict censorship regulations: That is, he was warned
before each visit that he was not allowed to discuss with his client the trial,
the reasons for his imprisonment or the efforts that were being made to secure
his release. The custodial Allied Governments had always refused to bear the
costs for the prison. After October 1, 1966, when my father became the prison's
sole prisoner, the German federal government spent around 40 million marks to
run the prison. This included salaries for a staff of more than a hundred
persons employed to guard and run this prison for a single elderly man.
Rudolf Hess in his Spandau prison cell. On the wall
hang maps of the moon, reflecting his keen interest in astronomy.
In 1986, Soviet policy toward the West showed
obvious signs of rapprochement and d_tente. In spite of so many earlier
failures, I decided to act on a hint received in December 1986 from the East to
directly approach the Soviets to discuss with them my father's release.
In January 1987, I wrote a letter to the Soviet
embassy in Bonn. For the first time in 20 years, I received a reply. Officials
there suggested that I visit the Soviet embassy in East Berlin for a detailed
discussion with Soviet representatives about my father's situation. We finally
agreed to a meeting at the Soviet consulate in West Berlin on March 31, 1987, at
2:00 p.m. As the embassy officials were certainly aware, this would be on the
same day as my next visit with my father.
That morning, I visited my father in Spandau prison
for the very last time. I found him to be mentally alert, quite up to par, but
physically very weak. He could walk only when supporting himself with a cane on
one side, and with help from a guard on the other. Sitting down with his feet
propped on a chair had become a tedious procedure which he could not manage
without help. Even though I found the temperature in the visitor's room to be
quite normal, he felt cold and asked for his coat and an additional blanket.
My father opened our conversation with an
interesting piece of news, the details of which he asked me to set down in
writing: He had sent a new application to the heads of state of the four
occupation powers, requesting release from his 46 years imprisonment. I was
particularly struck by one point. He told me that he had appealed especially to
the Soviet head of state to support his request with the other three custodial
powers. "Did I get that right?," I asked. My father nodded. So he
knew--obviously from the Russians themselves--that they were considering
approving his release.
After our meeting, I drove from Spandau prison
directly to the Soviet consulate. Embassy Counselor Grinin, the official I spoke
with there, began by explaining that it was not the Soviet embassy in Bonn, but
rather the embassy in East Berlin that was responsible for all Soviet rights and
responsibilities in West Berlin. One of these responsibilities, he said-- and
his words deserve to be repeated verbatim --was "the unpleasant legacy of
Spandau." Anyone who had inherited a legacy like the "Allied Military
Prison" on German soil, as the Soviet Union had at the of the war, Grinin
said, should certainly want to get rid of it.
I had not expected any sensational outcome from this
meeting. It had been a mutual sounding-out, and I believe that it came off
positively for each side. It also became clear to me during the course of this
meeting that there were conflicting views in Moscow about how to deal with the
"Hess case." Those who were sympathetic to us, led by Secretary
General Gorbachev, were clearly gaining the upper hand.
This evaluation was confirmed a short time later in
a report published in the German news magazine Der Spiegel (April 13, 1987). The
article, which appeared under the headline "Will Gorbachev release
Hess?," reported on a fundamental change in the attitude of the Soviet
party leader toward the "Hess case." Gorbachev, it went on, took the
view that the
release of Spandau's last prisoner would be an
action "that would be accepted worldwide as a gesture of humanity,"
and which "could also be justified to the Soviet people." In this
regard, the news weekly also mentioned the forthcoming visit to Moscow by
federal German President Weizs_cker, which was planned to take place in mid-May.
Also on April 13, 1987, a private German citizen
wrote a letter about the Hess case to the German-language service of Radio
Moscow. The letter of reply, dated June 21, 1987, declared: "As can be
hoped from the most recent statements of our head of government, M. Gorbachev,
your long years of efforts for the release of the war criminal R. Hess will soon
be crowned with success." It can be assumed with certainty that such a
letter from Radio Moscow was not written without approval from above.
These three events--my reception in the Soviet
consulate in West Berlin on March 31, 1987, the Spiegel magazine report of April
13, 1987, and the reply from Radio Moscow of June 21, 1987--show unequivocally
that the Soviet Union, under the leadership of Secretary General Gorbachev, intended to release Rudolf Hess. This release would not only be entirely consistent
with Gorbachev's policy of reconciliation, it would also be essential feature of
a settlement of the remaining unresolved consequences of the Second World War,
without which the reunification of Germany and Berlin would not be possible.
Death by Suicide?
If the western custodial powers had not already been
aware of Gorbachev's intention, they certainly were after the publication of the
Spiegel article in April. This undoubtedly set off alarm bells in Britain and
the United States, since this new Soviet move would remove the last remaining
legal obstacle to my father's release. For many years the British, American and
French governments had said that they were ready to agree to Hess' release, but
that it was only the Soviet veto that prevented it. Gorbachev's new initiative
threatened to call the British and American bluff.
The authorities in London and Washington would have
to find some new and more permanent way to deny Hess his freedom and keep him
from speaking freely.
On Monday, August 17, 1987, a journalist informed me
in my office that my father was dying. Later, at home, I received a telephone
call at 6:35 p.m. from Mr. Darold W. Keane, the American director of the Spandau
Prison, who informed me officially that my father had died. The official
notification, which was in English, read as follows: "I am authorized to
inform you that your father expired today at 4:10 p.m. I am not authorized to
give you any further details."
The next morning I was on a plane to Berlin,
accompanied by Dr. Seidl. When I arrived at the prison, a fairly large crowd had
gathered in front. Berlin police were blocking the entrance, and we were obliged
to show identification papers before we were allowed to approach the
green-painted iron gate. After ringing the bell, I asked to speak with the
American prison director, Mr. Keane. After quite a while, Mr. Keane finally
appeared, looking extraordinarily nervous and unsure of himself. He told us that
we would not be allowed inside the prison complex, and that I would not be
permitted to see my dead father. He also told us that he was not able to provide
any further information about details of the death. A new report with details of
my father's death was allegedly being prepared, and would be made available at
about 4:00 p.m. Then, after we gave him the address and telephone number of a
Berlin hotel where we would be waiting for further news, he left us standing in
front of the gate.
The long-expected telephone call to the hotel
finally came at about 5:30 p.m. Keane said:
I will now read to you the report that we will
release immediately afterwards to the press. It reads:
"Initial examination indicated that Rudolf Hess
attempted to take his own life. In the afternoon of August 17, 1987, under the
customary supervision of a prison guard, Hess went to a summerhouse in the
prison garden, where he always used to sit. When the guard looked into the
summerhouse a few minutes later, he discovered Hess with an electric cord around
his neck. Attempts were made at resuscitation and Hess was taken to the British
Military Hospital. After further attempts to revive Hess, he was declared dead
at 4:10 p.m. The question of whether this suicide attempt was the cause of his
death is the object of an investigation, including a thorough autopsy, which is
still in progress."
Hess was a frail 93-year-old man with no strength
left in his hands, who could just barely drag himself from his cell into the
garden. How was he supposed to have killed himself in this way? Did he hang
himself with the cord from a hook or a window latch? Or did he throttle himself?
Those responsible would not immediately provide a detailed explanation about
this point. We had to wait a full month for the final official statement about
the circumstances of the death. It was published by the Allies on September 17,
1987, and reads as follows:
1. The Four Powers are now in a position to make the
final statement on the death of Rudolf Hess.
2. Investigations have confirmed that on August 17
Rudolf Hess hanged himself from a window latch in a small summerhouse in the
prison garden, using an electric extension cord which had for some time been
kept in the summerhouse for use in connection with a reading lamp. Attempts were
made to revive him and he was then rushed to the British Military Hospital
where, after further unsuccessful attempts to revive him, he was pronounced dead
at 4:10 p.m.
3. A note addressed to Hess' family was found in his
pocket. This note was written on the reverse side of a letter from his
daughter-in-law dated July 20, 1987. It began with the words "Please would
the governors s this home. Written a few minutes before my death." The
senior document examiner from the laboratory of the British government chemist,
Mr. Beard, has examined this note, and concluded that he can see no reason to
doubt that it was written by Rudolf Hess.
4. A full autopsy was performed on Hess' body on
August 19 in the British Military Hospital by Dr. Malcolm Cameron. The autopsy
was conducted in the presence of medical representatives of the four powers. The
report noted a linear mark on the left side of the neck consistent with a
ligature. Dr. Cameron stated that in his opinion death resulted from asphyxia,
caused by compression of the neck due to suspension.
5. The investigations confirmed that the routine
followed by staff on the day of Hess' suicide was consistent with normal
practice. Hess had tried to cut his wrists with a table knife in 1977.
Immediately after this incident, warders were placed in his room and he was
watched 24 hours a day. This was discontinued after several months as
impracticable, unnecessary and an inappropriate invasion of Hess' privacy.
The report of the autopsy carried out by the British
pathologist Dr. Cameron on August 19 was later made available to the family.
Concluding that my father's death was not due to natural causes, it was
consistent with point five of the Allied final official statement.
Autopsy and Burial
On the basis of an 1982 agreement between the family
and the Allies, the body of Rudolf Hess would not be burned, but instead would
be turned over to the family for burial "in Bavaria quietly in the presence
of his immediate family."
The Allies kept this agreement--something they have
most probably since regretted emphatically. Accordingly, my father's body was
turned over to the family on the morning of August 20, 1987, at the American
military training grounds of Grafenwoehr, where it had arrived earlier that same
morning from Berlin in a British military airplane.
The coffin was accompanied by the three Western
governors and two Russians, whom I didn't know, as well as a certain Major
Gallagher, chief of the so-called "Special Investigation Branch, Royal
Military Police." The turnover was brief and to the point. We then
immediately brought the body to the Institute for Forensic Medicine in Munich,
where Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Spann was waiting at our family's request to conduct a
second autopsy. Throughout the entire journey from the military training grounds
in Grafenw_hr to the Institute for Forensic Medicine in Munich, the transport
was guarded by a contingent of Bavarian police.
In the conclusion of his report of December 21,
1988, on the second autopsy, the renowned Munich pathologist Professor Spann
pointed out the difficulties he encountered because he did not have any
information about details of the alleged hanging. In particular, he had no
information about details of the condition of my father after the supposed
discovery of his body. In spite of these limitations, Dr. Spann nevertheless was
able to arrive at the following remarkable conclusions:
Dr. Cameron's further conclusion that this
compression was caused by suspension is not necessarily compatible with our
In forensic medicine, the course which the ligature
mark takes on the neck is considered a classic indicator for differentiating
between forms of hanging and throttling ... If Prof. Cameron, in his assessment
of the cause of death, comes to the conclusion that the cause of death was
asphyxiation caused by compression of the neck due to hanging, he neglects to
con-sider the other method of strangulation, that is, throttling ... Making this
distinction would have required an examination of the course of the ligature
mark. The precise course of the mark is not given in Prof. Cameron's autopsy
Here, neither the course of the strangulation mark
on the neck, as we have described it, nor its course on the throat, nor its
position relative to the prominence of the larynx has been described and
assessed ... Since on the uninjured skin of the neck, where the possibility of
distortion through the suture of the dissection incision is ruled out, an almost
horizontal course of the strangulation mark could be identified, this finding,
as well as the fact that the mark on the throat obviously was not located above
the larynx, is more indicative of a case of throttling than of hanging. Under no
circumstances can the findings be readily explained by a so-called typical
hanging. The burst blood vessels which were observed in the face, caused by
blood congestion, are also not compatible with typical hanging.
A Tunisian medical orderly, Abdallah Melaouhi, was a
civilian employee of the Spandau prison administration at the time of my
father's death. He is not a citizen of one of the four Allied occupation powers,
nor, even more to the point, a member of their armed forces. As a result, he
could not be silenced or transferred to some remote corner of the world like the
others who were present at the scene of the crime.
After the death of my father, Melaouhi got in touch
with our family. >From a note that my father wrote to him, it is clear that
there was a relationship of personal trust between the two men. The core of
Melaouhi's account, which he set down in an affidavit, is as follows:
When I arrived at the garden summerhouse, I found
the scene looking as though a wrestling match had taken place. The ground was
churned up and the chair on which Hess had usually sat lay on the ground a
considerable distance from its usual location. Hess himself lay lifeless on the
ground: He reacted to nothing, his respiration, pulse and heartbeat were no
longer measurable. Jordan [an American guard] stood near Hess' feet and was
obviously quite beside himself.
Melaouhi noticed to his surprise that besides
Anthony Jordan, the Black American guard, two strangers in US military uniform
were present. This was unusual, since no soldier was normally permitted access
to this part of the prison, and above all, because any contact with Rudolf Hess
was most strictly forbidden. In Melaouhi's opinion, the two strangers seemed
reserved and calm, in sharp contrast to Jordan.
Affidavit from South Africa
In addition to the Tunisian orderly's account, there
is a further affidavit regarding the events in Spandau on August 17, 1987. My
wife brought it back from South Africa, where she had met with a South African
lawyer with contacts to Western secret services. I was able to persuade this man
to phrase his testimony in the form of an affidavit prepared for a judge. Dated
February 22, 1988, this affidavit reads as follows:
I have been questioned about the details of the
death of the former German Reich Minister Rudolf Hess.
Reich Minister Rudolf Hess was killed on the orders
of the British Home Office. The murder was committed by two members of the
British SAS (22nd SAS Regiment, SAS Depot Bradbury Lines, Hereford, England).
The military unit of the SAS [Special Air Service] is subordinated to the
British Home Office--not to the Ministry of Defense. The planning of the murder
as well as its direction was carried out by MI-5. The secret service action
whose aim was the murder of Reich Minister Rudolf Hess was so hastily planned
that it was not even given a code name, which is absolutely not customary.
Other secret services which had been privy to the
plan were the American, the French and the Israeli. Neither the [Soviet] KGB nor
the GRU, nor the German secret services had been informed.
The murder of Reich Minister Rudolf Hess had become
necessary because the government of the USSR inted to release the prisoner in
July 1987 [in connection with German President von Weizs_cker's forthcoming
visit to Moscow], but President von Weizs_cker was able to negotiate an
extension with the head of the Soviet government, Gorbachev, until November
1987, the next Soviet period in the guard cycle.
The two SAS men had been in Spandau prison since the
night of Saturday-Sunday (August 15-16, 1987). The American CIA gave its consent
to the murder on Monday (August 17, 1987).
During Reich Minister Rudolf Hess' afternoon walk,
the two SAS men lay in waiting for the prisoner in the prison garden summerhouse
and tried to strangle him with a 4 1/2-foot long cable. Afterwards, a
"suicide by hanging" was to be faked. But as Reich Minister Rudolf
Hess put up a fight and cried for help, which alerted at least one American
guard soldier to the attack, the attempt on the prisoner's life was broken off,
and an ambulance of the British Military Hospital was summoned. The unconscious
Reich Minister Rudolf Hess was taken to the British Hospital in the ambulance.
I was given the above information personally and
verbally by an officer of the Israeli service on Tuesday, August 18, 1987, at
around 8.00 a.m., South African time. I have known this member of the Israeli
service both officially and personally for four years. I am completely satisfied
that he was sincere and honest and I have no doubt whatsoever as to the truth of
his information. The absolutely confidential nature of his conversation with me
is also beyond doubt.
Next to Cameron's misleading autopsy report, the
British themselves provided the most decisive clue in solving the mysterious
death in the garden summerhouse of Spandau prison.
As already mentioned, I was told on August 17, 1987,
only that my father had died. It wasn't until the next day that I learned that
he had supposedly committed suicide. In response to doubts I quickly expressed
publicly about this supposed suicide, the Allies were prompted to discover, on
August 19, 1987, a supposedly incontrovertible "proof" of suicide.
This is the so-called "suicide note." It is an undated hand-written
letter on the back of the family's next-to-the-last letter to Rudolf Hess, dated
July 20, 1987. The text of this supposed "suicide note" is as follows:
Please would the Governors s this home. Written a
few minutes before my death.
I thank you all, my beloved, for all the dear things
you have done for me. Tell Freiburg I am extremely sorry that since the
Nuremberg trial I had to act as though I didn't know her. I had no choice,
because otherwise all attempts to gain freedom would have been in vain. I had so
looked forward to seeing her again. I did get pictures of her, as of you all.
Wolf R. Hess alone with his father for the first
time since 1941.
This letter was handed to the family more than a
month after the death. We were told that it first had to be examined in a
While it did seem to be my father's handwriting
(although considerably distorted, as it was whenever he was suffering as a
result of emotional upheaval, health problems or even medication), this
"note" did not reflect the thinking of Rudolf Hess in 1987. Rather, it
reflected thoughts of his some twenty years earlier. The content mainly concerns
"Freiburg," his one-time private secretary, about whom he had been
concerned in 1969 when he had a perforated ulcer in the duodenum and was near
death. Moreover, it was signed with an expression, "Your Eldest," that
he not used for about 20 years.
There is another clue in the letter's text that
indicates its date. The phrase, "I did get pictures of her, as of you
all," would have made sense only during the period before Christmas 1969,
because until that Christmas he received nothing but photographs of "Freiburg"
and us. As of Christmas 1969, he was visited by members of his family, and
received more pictures from "Freiburg," who was not allowed to visit
him. Considering the precise way my father expressed himself, this sentence can
only have been written before December 24, 1969. Written in August 1987, this
sentence makes no sense at all.
Finally, the brief letter's opening words,
"Written a few minutes before my death," cannot be reconciled with his
precise manner of expressing himself. If he had really written this letter
before a planned suicide, he would most certainly have chosen a phrase
specifying suicide, such as "shortly before my voluntary withdrawal from
life" or something similar, but not the ambiguous word "death,"
which leaves open any possible method of death.
We, the members of his family who knew not only my
father's handwriting but the writer himself, and who were intimately familiar
with his concerns during his final years, know that this supposed "suicide
note" is a hoax as crude as it is malicious.
It can now be concluded that a "farewell
letter" written by my father almost twenty years earlier in expectation of
his death, and which was not handed over to the family at that time, was used to
produce this 1987 forgery. For this purpose, the text was transformed by some
modern means onto the back of a letter my father had received recently from us.
The censorship stamp "Allied Prison Spandau," which normally appeared,
without exception, on every piece of incoming paper he received for more than 40
years, was conspicuously absent from our letter to him of July 20, 1987.
Finally, the supposed suicide note bore no date, which was contrary to my
father's routine practice of always prefacing whatever he wrote with the date.
The original date had obviously been omitted.
Murder, Not Suicide
On the basis of Prof. Spann's autopsy report, the
affidavits of the Tunisian medical orderly and the South African attorney, as
well as the supposed "suicide letter," I can only conclude that the
death of Rudolf Hess on the afternoon of August 17, 1987, was not suicide. It
Although US authorities were officially in charge of
the Allied Military Prison in Berlin-Spandau in August 1987, it is noteworthy
that British citizens played such a major role in the final act of the Hess
drama. The American director, Mr. Keane, was permitted by the British merely to
call me and inform me of my father's death. After that his only duty was to keep
his mouth shut.
To sum up here:
- The two men the Tunisian orderly Melaouhi saw in
American uniform, who were most probably Rudolf Hess' murderers, were from a
British SAS regiment.
- The death was established in the British Military
Hospital, to where my father was brought in a British ambulance.
- The death certificate is signed only by British
- The autopsy was carried out by a British
- The British prison director, Mr. Antony Le
Tissier, supervised the prompt destruction of all tell-tale evidence, such
as the electric cable, the garden house, and so forth.
- The officials of the Special Investigation Branch
(SIB) that investigated the death were all British citizens, and were headed
by a British major.
- The alleged "suicide note" was
supposedly found two days later in the pocket of Hess' jacket by a British
officer, and was examined by a British laboratory.
- Mr. Allan Green, the British Director of Public
Prosecution, halted an investigation into my father's death begun by
Scotland Yard, which had recommended a "full scale murder
investigation" after officials there had found many inconsistencies.
Rudolf Hess did not commit suicide on August 17,
1987, as the British government claims. The weight of evidence shows instead
that British officials, acting on high-level orders, murdered my father.
A Crime Against Truth
The same government, which tried to make him a
scapegoat for its crimes, and which for almost half a century resolutely sought
to suppress the truth of the Hess affair, finally did not shrink from murder to
silence him. My father's murder was not only a crime against a frail and elderly
man, but a crime against historical truth. It was a logical final act of an
official British conspiracy that began in 1941, at the outset of the Hess
But I can assure them, and you, that this conspiracy
will not succeed. The murder of my father will not, as they hope, forever close
the book on the Hess file.
I am convinced that history and justice will absolve
my father. His courage in risking his life for peace, the long injustice he endured,
and his martyrdom, will not be forgotten. He will be vindicated, and his final
words at the Nuremberg trial, "I regret nothing!," will stand forever.
Article taken from the Institute of Historical
You can find all the official documents
Affidavit of Abdallah Melaouhi
Autopsy report of Prof. Cameron,
Forensic examination report of Prof. Spann,
Affidavit of Prof. Spann
Affidavit of Prof. Eisenmenger
The Death Certificate
The linear mark on the neck of Rudolf Hess
The Porta-cabin: The crime scene
Photographs various pictures
from the life of Rudolf Hess
Memorial stone in Scotland
The Final Remarks of Rudolf Hess at
At the International Military
Tribunale in Nuremberg 1946. From the left: Hermann Göring, Admiral Karl Dönitz
(hidden), Admiral Erich Raeder, "Deputy of the Führer" Rudolf Heß,
Reichsjugendführer Baldur von Schirach, Foreign Secretary Joachim von
mit Abdallah Melaouhi,
dem letzten Krankenpfleger von Rudolf Heß
Melaouhi: Vor über 20 Jahren
wurde mein Patient
Rudolf Heß in Spandau ermordet.
Ich war der einzige Augenzeuge des Verbrechens.
Zahlreiche juristische und medizinische Gutachten
unterstützten später das, was ich gesehen hatte...
Rudolf Hess in 1974 during a walk in
the prison garden.
Rudolf Hess in 1985 in his prison
The Grave of Rudolf Hess in
Wunsiedel, Fichtelgebirge, Germany.
The Grave stone says: " Ich Habs
Which, translated, means: " I
The memorial stone in Scotland.
British Intelligence Reports
on Capture of Rudolf Hess
Why Hess Flew:
A New View.
in the Rudolf Hess flight to Scotland in 1941)
Author/s: John Harris
SIGNIFICANT NEW EVIDENCE has arisen which
supports the viewpoint that Rudolf Hess, Hitler's deputy, was flying to
a pre-arranged meeting in lowland Scotland in May 1941, rather than the
more usual explanation that he was acting alone in a forlorn peace
mission. There have been three new pieces of evidence. Firstly, this
writer and Mei Trow in Hess: The British Conspiracy (Deutsch, April
1999) have shown a linkage between the flight and the British
intelligence community, by relating the use of a pre-war friendship
between the Haushofer family (who acted as Hess's unofficial envoys) and
the Roberts family, based in Cambridge, England.
This friendship, they demonstrate, was the
basis for a dialogue between Hess and the Duke of Hamilton in the autumn
Secondly, the details of the flight now
suggest that British airspace was left undefended, so as to allow the
Hess plane free passage into Scotland. The authors have unearthed a
Royal Observer Corps map, which reveal this to be the case, together
with the recent revelation that Czech pilots patrolling from Aldergrove,
Northern Ireland, were prevented from intercepting the Hess plane.
Thirdly, research since the book was
published shows that General Sikorski, the leader of the Polish
government in exile, flew into Prestwick airfield, no more than
twenty-five miles from the Hess crash site, on the morning after he came
down. Was a Sikorski -- Hess meeting the real reason behind the
General Sikorski had been in New York on May
9th, 1941, and had flown via Gander in Newfoundland, leaving there at
6.35 pm on May 10th. He landed at Prestwick at 11.30 am on May 11th,
only some eleven hours after Hess had crashed at Eaglesham, near
This newly found information comes from
Sikorski's wartime diary which is held at the Sikorski Institute in
Interestingly, the first person to interview
Hess in Scotland was a Polish consul from Glasgow by the name of
Battaglia. Was he an emissary for Sikorski? From recently released
documents there is no doubt that this `interview' greatly annoyed the
British government. Sikorski spent the rest of May 11th in Glasgow,
where he met, amongst others, the Polish Chief of Staff and Cabinet
leader. Needless to say, there is no record in the diary of a
clandestine meeting with Hess, who was also moving around various
Glaswegian locations during that day.
Britain had declared war in September 1939
on account of the German invasion of Poland. Sikorski had evaded capture
in 1940 when France was invaded, and, like De Gaulle, had established a
base in Britain.
Hess, it is generally agreed, knew of
Hitler's plans to invade Russia the month after his flight. The invasion
had to take place in the early summer to allow passage over the Pripyet
marshes before the autumn rains arrived. However, there was still no
prospect of peace in the West. Despite the appalling carnage of the
Blitz, Britain had shown she was not going to be bombed into submission,
and the Battle of Britain in 1940 had prevented German air superiority
from becoming a reality.
The March 1941 `Lend-Lease' agreement with
the US had also bolstered British resistance to Germany.
Hess, a frontline soldier of the Great War,
could remember the two-front war of 1914-18, and resolved that Germany
should not make the same mistake once more. Hitler had also made this
pledge in Mein Kampf. Consequently, Hess resolved to fly to try and
broker a last ditch peace deal between Germany and the western powers,
prior to the inevitable eastward onslaught.
Hess: The British Conspiracy argues that
Hitler approved the action and knew of the flight well in advance of his
Deputy's taking off from Augsburg at 5.45 pm on May 10th.
But why involve Sikorski? In order to obtain
a peace it is likely that one of the principal terms of an armistice
would have had to be a withdrawal of German troops from Poland, France
and the Low Countries. Sikorski would have had a vital role to play in
any such negotiations, especially as the Polish corridor and Danzig had
been the casus belli of the whole war. Any potential peace settlement
would have required Sikorski's approval, irrespective of what was being
agreed by the Western powers.
So, Hess flew when he did because of the
pressure of having to make a peace before Operation Barbarossa began.
Sikorski flew in the hope of a German withdrawal from Poland being on
the negotiating table. It is quite likely that he also knew of the
forthcoming German invasion of Russia, as British intelligence had been
aware of the build-up of German troops on the Russian borders. This
knowledge would have boosted his confidence in achieving some form of
What went wrong? Simply that Hess's plane
crashed and he was captured after baling out and injuring his leg,
before meeting his intermediaries, and so the secret meeting was secret
no more. In order to allay the fears of the still isolationist USA,
Churchill had to feign ignorance and Sikorski flew on to Gask, north of
Aberdeen. Hess was left to rot in prison, and Germany faced the
two-front war he had tried to avert. Similarly, Hitler, too, feigned
ignorance, in his case because a peace in the west could not fail to
alert Stalin to the dangers of invasion, a peril that the British were
continuously warning him of.
The evidence now supports the case that
there was a preplanned meeting that Hess anticipated attending. Whether,
as Hess: The British Conspiracy contends, the illusion of the meeting
was merely an intelligence ploy that trapped Hess, is still open to
conjecture. Indeed, in a book soon to be published, an allegation is
made that Hess was flying to meet not only Sikorski, but also the King's
brother, the Duke of Kent, who was already at Dungavel awaiting Hess's
arrival. There is, apparently, clear third-party evidence to support
this theory, and there is no extant, clear evidence as to the
whereabouts of the King and Queen themselves on May 10th, 1941.
Strangely enough, two of the dramatis
personae of these events, Sikorski and the Duke of Kent, both perished
later in the war in mysterious plane crashes: the Duke in Scotland, and
Sikorski off Gibraltar.
After more than fifty-eight years are the
facts behind the Hess case now beginning to emerge from official secrecy
and the smokescreen of other conspiracy theories? The existence of a
pre-planned meeting would certainly be sufficient reason to justify the
official secrecy that surrounds the case until 2017, but no longer.
|COPYRIGHT 2000 History Today Ltd.
in association with The Gale Group and LookSmart. COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale
Here is an article found on the internet concerning
Hess's and Hitler's correspondence with Ernst Juenger - E J - .
The French left-wing newspaper Libération published
today an article about EJ & Hitler letters. Here is a very rough
Sorry for my very poor English : I read almost every
day your contributions and translations (special congratulations to Bertil
Haggman, Thomas Friese, Ulrich Oswald, John King, Umberto Rossi and many
others), and by inserting this mail I feel like a beginner musician starting to
play in the middle of a famous orchestra. Anyway, here it is (for those who
understand French, article may be found at http://www.liberation.fr/quotidien/semaine/990118lunzh.html)
"Adolf Hitler and his secretary Rudolf Hess had
a brief correspondence as revealed yesterday the newspaper Welt am Sonntag. In
the personal archive of Jünger, the newspaper found three letters from Rudolf
Hess and one from Hitler, dated may 27th 1926. "I read all your writings. I
valued one of the few testimony of an actor of the WWI" wrote Hitler,
thanking EJ for a copy of "Fire and Blood" that Jünger sent him
dedicated. A letter from Rudolf Hess, dated June 1926, thanks EJ for another
letter and diaries that EJ would have sent to Hitler, and announces an Hitler
visit at EJ home in Leipzig. This visit was cancelled due to a change in Hitler
Welt am Sonntag interprets these letters like the
evidence that EJ was paid court by Hitler but kept distances. Heimo Schwilk, the
journalist who found these letters and is working on a biography of EJ writes
that "he could have become the "lighthouse" of the nazis but
always resisted to the temptation.". EJ himself summarised his own thinking
about Hitler as follows : "This man is right" he thought when he
assisted to Hitler speech in Munich in 1923, "a key event" he said.
Then EJ found Hitler "ridiculous" and then "sinister,
EJ differed very quickly differed from the national
socialism because the tactic they use to conquer political power seemed to
betray the "purity" of the national fight. A letter from Rudolf Hesse
in 1929 tries to explain to EJ why the nazi party broke away from the
assassination done by nationalists farmers : EJ had reproached the NSDAP to
abandon revolutionaries. In 1927 Hitler asked EJ to be candidate for the Nazi
party at the Reichstag : "I would prefer to write only one verse rather
than representing 60 000 fool people at the parliament".
Although the discovery of these letters is new, the
closeness of EJ with the beginning of the Nazi party was already known. It did
not kept other political men, much latter, to pay court to the writer : François
Mitterand and Helmut Kohl were big fans of EJ, to who they paid several