David Irving has donated a copy of the original German documents to the Institut für Zeitgeschichte in Munich.
[See too: MI5 will open the contents of its registry of personal files to the public for the first time next week with the release of all the material it holds on Mata Hari, Rudolf Hess and Roger Casement.]
New Documents on the Brave Peace Mission of Rudolf Hess to Scotland (UK) in May 1941.
Notes: From a Californian, David Irving obtained in 1998 the complete original file of Gestapo interrogations of the SS officers on Rudolf Hess's staff, conducted mainly May 18 - 22, 1941, with scattered Feb 1941 weather reports for Scotland (found in the home of Hess's secretary), etc. These had been removed from Himmler's files for the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, but stolen from the Palace of Justice there by a US officer shortly after (they have typical IMT machine-pagination, but no Exhibit or Document number). I negotiated for their deposit eventually in German government archives.
David Irving writes: I have derived the following narrative from the RSHA interrogations (Saturday, June 12, 1999):-
Kriminalrat Franz Lutz, Hess's 48 year old security officer, questioned on May 18, described in detail Hess's many different doctors, therapists, and masseurs with evident distaste; Hess had required the doctors to test their skills on him first.
Hess's staff had accompanied him on many trips to Messerschmitt's Augsburg factory airfield. He had flown to Augsburg on November 8 and inspected the Me110; by the end of 1940 he was flying the Me110 solo. His driver told the Gestapo that in October or November he had been sent to Munich's Riem airport to fetch a map of England; then Hess sent his valet to buy two maps of north-western Europe, at Lana's bookstore. Entering Hess's study once, normally a forbidden sanctum, the valet had found it strewn with charts. Soon Hess had had auxiliary fuel tanks added to "his" Me110. Once Messerschmitt's instructor inquired why he was asking whether it could still carry a bomb or torpedo with the tank, and was he planning to fly to England with the plane then? "No, no," Hess had responded with a smile, but then he hinted to his staff that he intended to try out for himself a new method of mining British ports.
In January, recalled Sorof, Hess had once casually asked him to find out whether the British "General Hamilton" was still alive. On January 10, 1941 he had made his first serious attempt to fly to Britain, taking off at Messerschmitt's airfield at about three p.m. in the Me110 fitted with auxiliary fuel tanks. Before leaving the administration building, Hess asked for paper to write something. As the plane took off, the valet handed to adjutant Pintsch a bulky envelope. Pintsch went bright purple as he read the contents, and announced that their chief had flown to England. But at that moment the control tower announced that the Me110 was back and circling overhead; Hess then had to use up ninety minutes' fuel before he could safely land. He explained that the rudder was faulty. Pintsch swore the others to secrecy.
Disturbed by all of this, his detective Lutz asked Pintsch afterwards if the Führer knew what was going on, as he would have to make some kind of report to Himmler. Two or three days later Pintsch replied that Hess had assured him that him he was calling off the flights for the time being. There were no more visits to Augsburg until March. Hess's staff remained uneasy; his valet blurted out what he knew of the England plan to a startled Alfred Leitgen in mid-January, and suggested they ought to mention it to Martin Bormann - he himself was reluctant to do so, as he did not know if the Führer had ordered the mission or not. Lutz pressed Pintsch several times about whether Hitler was in the picture or not. "Pintsch then told me," stated Lutz under Gestapo interrogation on May 18, "that Comrade Hess had apparently talked with the Führer about such a plan while in Berlin. There was accordingly no need for me to report to the Reichsführer SS." Lutz for one was convinced that Hess "must have" informed the Führer of his plan.
Hess's staff, who were now all in the know, wilted under the oath of secrecy he had exacted.
After the January 10 attempt, Hess ordered from the Munich sports outfitters Schuster's a leather flying suit and fur-lined boots (he had previously borrowed some from Messerschmitt's). Early in April he visited Schwarz the Tailors in Munich's Prielmayer-strasse, and ordered a blue-grey Luftwaffe captain's uniform; it cost around 150 marks. The Luftwaffe uniform, which gained an almost mystical significance for the superstitious Hess, thus began an extraordinary journey that ended over fifty years later when it was returned by Berlin police authorities to Hess's now adult son (it had been stolen from his prison cell in Spandau by British soldiers a few days before his mysterious death in 1987).
Pintsch had told Sorof over a glass of beer on April 20 that Hess was worried about the way the war was going, because he knew the Führer was reluctant to destroy England, and because he saw war coming with the United States and the Soviet Union, and that he was planning to make personal contact with peace-loving circles in Britain and had been working on a memorandum to be handed to Hitler after his departure. Later in April, Hess obtained several books on the British Constitution. On May 3, said his adjutant Günther Sorof, Hess flew by government plane from München Riem airport to Berlin. Ten minutes before take-off Karl Haushofer came to speak with Hess. Haushofer told the adjutant a few minutes later that he was to stay in Munich and await a phone message from him that evening or next morning to forward to Hess in Berlin; Haushofer had indeed phoned that evening, and instructed Sorof to say to Berlin, "On a scale of 1 to 6, things stand at around 3 or 4 and more needs doing." His son Albrecht, he added, would report as soon as he was back on German soil. Pintsch, who had mistrusted the younger Haushofer as a "spongy half-Jew", and wondered what business he had in Party headquarters, dutifully passed the message to Hess in Berlin.
Hess arrived in Berlin at 5:20 p.m. He had ordered his staff to bring the Luftwaffe captain's uniform with them. "That evening," reported Lutz, Hess's detective, "Comrade Hess was with the Führer." Pintsch learned that Hess had received an important message from Haushofer and taken it straight over to the Führer late that evening of May 3, "I believe it was from Portugal." Whereupon Hitler had made a crucial alteration to the script of his next day's speech to the Reichstag - what that was, we do not know. When Detective Lutz again asked Pintsch next day, the fourth, whether Hess had told the Führer of his intention, Pintsch replied that Hess had told him he had spoken with the Führer about his plan. "The Führer was not averse to it," he had said.
Driver Lippert testified that "shortly after the Reichstag session" on May 4 Hess ordered them to get ready for an immediate journey to Augsburg. His staff were surprised at the suddenness of this decision. At five past ten p.m. Hess left Berlin in a special coach attached to the overnight Munich express. He had commanded Pintsch to have the Hitler speech printed in English, and several copies of the speech, freshly printed in a very small typeface were packed into his luggage. Over lunch on May 5, Hess met the younger Haushofer, Professor Albrecht Haushofer, whom he had summoned to his room in the Hotel Drei Mohren from Überlingen. They spoke privately, nobody knew about what (the Gestapo murdered the younger Haushofer at the end of the war). At four p.m. Hess left and drove with his staff to Augsburg, where his Me110 was ready. For the first time, he was wearing the new Luftwaffe uniform under his leather flying suit; he allowed Detective Lutz to take a roll of Leica snapshots of him in this unusual garb, in a room of the Messerschmitt building. When his driver asked about the uniform, Hess told him not to breath a word about it to anybody; "I'm planning a little surprise," he explained to his staff. Taking a handful of the Hitler speeches but no other hand luggage, to save weight, he climbed into the plane and took off at 5:15 p.m., heading north. A while later however the Me110 appeared back over the airfield, circling to lose fuel; this time a radio fault had forced his return. On the drive back to Munich, his valet noticed that Hess was in a sour mood.
On the morning of May 10, Pintsch had phoned a meteorologist to ask about the cloud levels over Scotland, and had phoned the answer through to Hess. Pintsch had then phoned the air ministry and asked them to switch on a certain beacon, Elektra. Hess had instructed his staff to keep their eyes open for a letter from Switzerland, presumably from his aunt in Zürich. On the morning of his departure a letter arrived from her reminding Hess that he had phoned her to keep her eyes open for a certain message from the International Red Cross, but that none had come yet; by then he had already left on his mission however. On May 10, he again drove to Augsburg. This time, Hess told Lutz to take no photos - it was a flying superstition, he said, not to be photographed before a long flight; he slung his own Leica camera around his neck. Pintsch handed him maps and an envelope with the Hitler speeches, and at 5:42 p.m. the Me110 took off, again heading north. This time all went well. At 9:45 p.m. Pintsch revealed to his colleagues: "No phone calls have come, so Comrade Hess's flight must have succeeded." He pulled out of his attaché case a package containing a route map - it ended somewhere in Scotland, where Hess intended, said Pintsch, to parachute into the estate of a local notable - and several letters, some addressed in Hess's handwriting and others in typescript, to the Führer, Himmler, a Messerschmitt director, and family members. Since it was too late to disturb the Führer with all this now, Pintsch decided, he would take the 7:35 a.m. train from Munich to Berchtesgaden; upon leaving this train at Freilassing, he told his colleagues that he hoped Hitler would not be upset by Hess's move - the first shocking intimation that Detective Lutz had that Hitler might be in the dark after all.