“Goodbye” Rudolf Hess Died 17 August 1987
Rudolf Walter Richard Hess (26 April 1894 – 17 August 1987), was a prominent politician in Nazi Germany. Appointed Deputy Führer to Adolf Hitler in 1933, he served in this position until 1941, when he flew solo to Scotland in an attempt to negotiate peace with the United Kingdom during World War II.
Whilst serving time in jail for an attempted coup, Hess helped Hitler write Mein Kampf.
After the Nazi Seizure of Power in 1933, Hess was appointed Deputy Führer of the NSDAP and received a post in Hitler’s cabinet. In addition to appearing on Hitler’s behalf at speaking engagements and rallies, Hess signed into law much of the legislation, including the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, that stripped the Jews of Germany of their rights in the lead-up to the Holocaust.
On 10 May 1941 he undertook a solo flight to Scotland, where he hoped to arrange peace talks with Douglas Douglas-Hamilton, 14th Duke of Hamilton, whom he believed was prominent in opposition to the British government. Hess was immediately arrested on his arrival and was held in British custody until the end of the war, when he was returned to Germany to stand trial in the Nuremberg Trials of major war criminals in 1946. Throughout much of the trial, he claimed to be suffering from amnesia, but later admitted this was a ruse. Hess was convicted of crimes against peace and conspiracy with other German leaders to commit crimes and was transferred to Spandau Prison in 1947, where he served a life sentence. Attempts by family members and prominent politicians to win him early release were blocked by the Soviet Union, and he committed suicide, still in custody in Spandau, in 1987 at the age of 93.