Posted Friday, November 9, 2001

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The Berlin police arrested the men, and seized the tunic as evidence, which is how it has survived to this day. The German police refused to surrender it to the British. They gave it back to the son instead.





Thursday, November 8, 2001
(New Orleans, Louisiana, USA)

I set out at 10:30 a.m. for New Orleans. A copy of yesterday's Key West Citizen is on the front seat of my rental Ford as I drive around the Gulf of Mexico, a trip of a couple of thousand miles up to western Texas. The front-page headline reads: SIXTEEN SHOTS FIRED IN OLD TOWN QUARREL.

A lot of Australians have written to me over last few days, having already received the Action Report No. 19 (that's fast) or my email, or having heard the news of my new application on their broadcast media and newspapers; and they have written to the government supporting my visa application. But there's probably going to be a government change, the general election is in two days' time and Labour look likely to win. The traditional enemy are known to have made large money contributions to both parties, so it will not alter their determination to keep me out.

Phone Bente around 1 p.m.; I remind her that the BBC Radio Four item is being broadcast at 8 p.m. her time.

Facing the enemy judges: Rudolf Hess sits in the dock at Nuremberg (writing, with Göring, Ribbentrop, Keitel) He has feigned amnesia until this moment, now suddenly astonishes judges and medical experts alike by revealing that it was a trick (illustration from David Irving: Nuremberg, the Last Battle).

For a couple of hundred miles I keep my eyes open for a truck stop where I can plug in and listen to Radio Four online, but I am driving through a national forest in northern Florida at three p.m. and have no luck.

Sorry to hear from Robert Faurisson's sister that Wolf Rüdiger Hess died two weeks ago. he was the son of Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess. When we invited him to speak at Cincinnati earlier this year, he first agreed, then demurred, as he was waiting for a vital organ transplant. So I had provisionally flagged him to address next year's function, before we decided to concentrate mainly on the World Trade Centre and surrounding history.

He was another example of a person whose entire life was effectively blighted by being the son of a famous father; Randolph Churchill is another who at once springs to mind.

Wolf Rüdiger was born a few weeks before I was, and his father doted on him. When he flew to Scotland on his peace mission on May 10, 1941 he took a picture of the little boy with him, and on his arrival at Nuremberg in October 1945, feigning amnesia, after four years as Churchill's secret prisoner, the one occasion when he nearly lost control was on being confronted by Colonel John Amen with a picture of the infant Wolf Rüdiger.

The Allies sentenced him at Nuremberg to life imprisonment, ironically for crimes against peace. After sentencing, his iron discipline returned: he refused permission for his wife, Ilse, and son to visit him in Spandau prison, saying he would allow it only when he could see them as a free man.

Generations of spineless western prime ministers preferred to allow Rudolf Hess , a latent schizophrene, to rot in jail, hoping that he would die soon; after twenty-five years he eventually allowed Wolf Rüdiger, now a grown man and a successful architect, to come and see him. While the Russian guards generally turned a blind eye, the western guards were pitiless in application of rules set by judges and commissions long since deceased.

Father and son were severely punished for the one and only occasion when they risked an illicit hug. As the father slowly aged during the 47 years of his imprisonment by the Allies (the last quarter-century in solitary confinement), he became senile, bowed, and arthritic, and mentally faded away. I listened once to the illicit tapes made by an American of a conversation in Spandau with him ten years or so before he died. He was so far gone he did not even know who Adolf HIitler was.

During all those years the famous leather Luftwaffe flying uniform in which he had made the hazardous solo flight and midnight parachute jump (his first ever) hung on a peg in the cell. The British military government had orders to destroy it and all his other personal effects upon his death, but it was stolen a few weeks before Hess's mysterious death -- he was found strangled in his cell during the American regime -- and turned up in a Berlin flea market, offered for sale by two British soldiers.

The Berlin police arrested the men, and seized the tunic as evidence, which is how it has survived to this day. The German police refused to surrender it to the British. They gave it back to the son instead. We had hoped he would bring it with him to the next Cincinnati function to display as a relic of the past, as he did in May 1991 -- which was the last time I saw him, when I lectured on his father's ordeal to the Rudolf Hess Society in Munich.

Hess bookI took a team from Hard Copy once to film him for a segment of the pooular American TV series. He spoke fluent English.

I also stayed for a week in a basement room of his Bavarian mountain villa; his mother, the steely Ilse, was still alive in her bedroom upstairs, the custodian of all the Rudolf Hess files; these were about 100 ring binders of original letters and documents, going back to the early 1920s and the Landsberg era. Nobody else had ever been allowed near them.

Wolf Rüdiger carried them down to the basement, two at a time, without his mother's knowledge, to allow me to make a full inventory of these priceless items. I eventually gave the list to the German archives. I hope the historic files themselves now find a secure home.

[Wolf Rüdiger Hess, son of Hitler's famous deputy and peace-emissary Rudolf Hess (b. Nov 18, 1937, died Oct 24, 2001). We invite our readers to pay their respects to his widow Andrea and son Wolf Andreas at a memorial ceremony to be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday Nov 25 in the Rembrandt Room of Munich's Hotel Eden-Wolff (next to the railroad station). Condolences can be sent to the Hess family home at Gailenberg 22, D-87541 Hindelang, Germany.]

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