H&D assistant editor’s speech at Berlin demo

(This is the text of a speech delivered in Spandau, Berlin – with German translation – on Saturday 19th August 2017 by H&D‘s Peter Rushton.)

Spandau is the site of a shameful episode in my country’s history: the murder of Rudolf Hess, thirty years ago this week.

My country’s leaders ended Hess’s public life in 1941, beginning his 46 years of incarceration – first in Britain, then in Nuremberg, then here in Spandau.

Let us never forget that even at Nuremberg, Rudolf Hess was found not guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.  He was convicted only of involvement in planning and preparing a so-called “war of aggression” – a retrospectively defined so-called “crime”.


I am not allowed to discuss the circumstances of Hess’s flight to Britain in 1941.  Although the achievements of the Federal Republic are so evident around us every day, it seems that this Republic feels threatened by any discussion of such historical matters!

The memorial stone at the spot where Rudolf Hess’s plane crash-landed in 1941. This stone was erected by British nationalists Tom Graham, Wallace Wears and Colin Jordan, but was later smashed by communists.



As late as 1987, the Federal Republic had to be protected against the 93-year-old Rudolf Hess, and even 30 years after his death, Rudolf Hess is seen as a threat to the post-1945 order, including the Federal Republic.


Last month the UK National Archives released thousands of pages of files about Hess and Spandau.  I visited the Archives in London and I have been reading those files.


In 1987 the Special Investigation Branch of the Royal Military Police stationed in Germany carried out an investigation of Hess’s death.  Yet both versions of their report (interim and final) remain secret.


They are officially listed as “retained” by the Foreign Office, under a regulation which normally applies to sensitive intelligence material.

Wolf Rüdiger Hess with the coffin of his father Rudolf Hess


This follows the advice of a telegram from Bonn to the Foreign Office soon after Hess’s death, in which a British diplomat writes:
“We agree that the autopsy report is not suitable for publication and that it would be preferable to avoid giving it to Wolf Rüdiger Hess.  …We also agree that it is desirable to act quickly.  This should help cut short speculation and allow media attention to move on to other things.”


There is no explanation of why aspects of the autopsy report and investigation were to be kept secret.

While the autopsy report is now public, the full reports investigating Hess’s death remain secret.

This photograph of Hess was taken secretly in the grounds of Spandau Prison, where he died in August 1987


Among the latest releases we can now see Foreign Office papers from the summer of 1989, drafting an official letter in reply to the late Ernst Zündel, who had asked Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for the release of these secret files, but we are still waiting for the whole truth.


Ernst Zündel himself was jailed for asking inconvenient questions; we are still waiting for the answers.


If the guardians of World Order truly wish to silence speculation about the murder of Rudolf Hess, these documents must be released – there can be no legitimate reason for their retention.


Those two vital reports are still secret: but what do we know from other files that are now public?


We know that in 1941 there was a plot to assassinate Hess, very soon after his arrival in Britain.  Brief details are revealed in the diary of a senior MI5 officer (Guy Liddell) and in correspondence between the Foreign Office and MI6.

Alfgar Hesketh-Prichard, a central figure in an earlier murder plot against Hess, is seen here (second right) with members of an SOE team that targeted Reinhard Heydrich a year later.

We know that this assassination plot involved Poles based in Scotland; and an officer of the Special Operations Executive, Alfgar Hesketh-Prichard, who was an expert sniper.

This same officer Hesketh-Prichard (a year later) commanded the assassins of Reinhard Heydrich.


That operation is well known, yet most details of the 1941 plot to murder Rudolf Hess remain secret.  What sort of ‘Poles’ planned this attempted murder; how and why did MI5 prevent it? What disputes took place within the British establishment?


It is illegal in the Federal Republic for me to speculate as to who might have been desperate to terminate Hess’s mission in 1941.  We cannot suggest what these assassins might have feared about Hess’s mission.

The recently published documents show that the authorities’ fear of Rudolf Hess even extended to censoring Yuletide cards.  A card sent from England by the political activist Colin Jordan was intercepted by the Spandau authorities at Yuletide 1983 and sent back to England to be investigated by our own ‘Verfassungsschutz’, the Special Branch.

Colin Jordan addresses a Trafalgar Square rally in 1962: a Yuletide card sent by Jordan to Hess in 1983 was censored by prison authorities

Many new documents in the archives are letters from Hess’s lawyer Dr Alfred Seidl, who fought a long and courageous campaign to oppose the entire basis of the Nuremberg charges against his client.

The recently released British documents give many details of Hess’s medical records, indicating for example that while he remained mentally alert even after suffering a stroke and partial blindness in 1978, he had many serious physical ailments, making the official account of his so-called suicide highly implausible.


Officially a succession of British politicians claimed that they wanted Hess to be released, and that his continued detention was due only to Soviet intransigence.


Then at the very moment when Soviet policy began to change, Hess conveniently (we are told) committed suicide.  It was very easy to blame the Soviets: but London had a problem when this excuse was no longer valid.

Independent medical experts agree that the horizontal mark across Hess’s neck indicates that he did not commit suicide (as this would have left oblique rather than horizontal scarring).



Given that the British authorities themselves accept the existence of a previous murder plot against Hess; given the extraordinary circumstances of his so-called suicide; and given its suspiciously convenient timing – all authorities concerned must admit that these suspicions can only be dispelled by the full release of all relevant documents.


Yet they refuse to do so.


Of course my country bears the main responsibility in this matter, but the Federal Republic in 2011 behaved even worse than the occupying powers in 1987, who had allowed Hess’s body to be released to his family for burial at Wunsiedel.


In 2011 this decision was reversed and a much earlier barbaric policy was reinstated, going back to a 1947 agreement in the Stalin-era to cremate Rudolf Hess, scatter the ashes and destroy even the box in which the ashes had been stored.


In fact in 2011 the entire family grave was destroyed.

The graveyard at Wunsiedel, before and after the official destruction of the Hess family grave in 2011



Such is the Federal Republic in the 21st century: their fear of National-Socialism and their barbaric counter-measures have taken us back to the Stalin-era – and in some respects worse than the Stalin-era.


We will only escape the shadow of Stalinism when German and British governments dare to confront the full truth of our history.


Only then will we have a free Germany, a free England, a free Europe.

Comments are closed.

  • Find By Category

  • Latest News

  • Follow us on Twitter