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Posted Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On May 10, 1941 Rudolf Hess made his brave solo flight from Ausburg to Scotland, on a hopeless peace-mission, in a specially adapted Me 110 fighter plane, and parachuted out near the estate of the Duke of Hamilton. He was held as a prisoner by the British secret service MI6 in a house in southern England, then in Wales until November 1945, convicted at Nuremberg of crimes against peace, and found dead in Spandau prison in August 1987. The German pathologist said he had been strangled.

„Denn hier in München fängt jetzt eine Bewegung an so stark alle jungen, kräftigen und noch durch und durch gesunderen Kräfte an sich zu ziehen, daß ich einmal davon erzählen muß. Es ist die [NSDAP]. . . wir sind Antisemiten." -- Brief Ilse Pröhl [Hess] an Frau Barchewitz, 28. November 1921

Inventory of the files hoarded by the widow of Rudolf Hess until her death

IN 1986 David Irving started writing a book on Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess, based on records found in Suitland, Maryland; Macmillan UK Ltd published it in London at the end of 1987 as HESS; THE MISSING YEARS, after Hess was found strangled in Spandau prison in August 1987.

Meeting Mr Irving in August 1990, Hess's son, the late Wolf-Rüdiger Hess, offered David Irving access to the entire files. They were locked in cupboards in his mother's rooms at Hindelang, Bavaria, he explained, and he invited Mr Irving to stay in the basement guest quarters and screen them for materials for his biography of Dr Goebbels, MASTERMIND OF THE THIRD REICH. It took several days to examine most of the fifty files, and Mr Irving wrote a running inventory of their contents as the son extricated them - with difficulty - from his rather suspicious mother's room, a few files at a time, which may explain why they are not listed in alphetical order.

At one point Frau Ilse Hess descended to the basement, and was heard to ask: "Who is that gentleman sitting there, and what is he doing?"

The records are of very great interest for the early history of the Nazi Party. Their present location is unknown.

On August 6, 1990 Mr Irving sent this Fax to Roland Philipps, his editor at Macmillan's (who under Jewish pressure only two years later secretly ordered all his books to be destroyed - "Mr Irving is not to be informed. There is to be no publicity"): "In Munich last Wednesday I dined with the son of Rudolf Hess. His mother has fifty thick files of his late father's papers from about 1930 onwards [in fact from 1920]. He himself has not had time to look at them; nor has he allowed anybody else to. He has invited me to spend two or three days doing so. I shall do so on August 28-30."

On the following day, Mr Irving informed his Austrian publisher, Stocker Verlag, in similar vein: "Hochzuverehrende gnädige Frau Stocker! ... Ich war übrigens vor einigen Tagen bei Wolf Rüdiger Heß zu Abendessen, er sagt, es gehe seiner Mutter noch gut, oder sogar besser; er bestätigte, er habe 50 Leitz-Ordner der Papiere seines verstorbenen Vaters gefunden, weder er noch seine Mutter hätten jemanden bisher Einsicht gewährt, auch er selber habe keine Zeit gehabt, darin zu lesen. Als ich fragte, ob darin evtl. Materialien für meine GOEBBELS-Biographie sich finden liessen, lud er mich ein, am 27. ds.Mts drei, vier Tage lang den gesamten Nachlaß zu sichten und verzeichnen. Wenn etwas daraus zu machen sein würde, halte ich Sie selbstverständlich, gnädige Frau, auf dem Laufenden."

The location of the Hess Documents listed here* is not known; perhaps the granddaughter Andrea Hess still has them.

download this Hess Documents inventory - in German (pdf, 400k)

* Postscript:

IT APPEARS that soon after Mr Irving completed his own inventory, Wolf Rüdiger Hess transferred all his father's files to the Swiss government archives, the Schweizerische Bundesarchiv in Berne. This must be seen as a deliberate slap in the face of the German Bundesarchiv. The Swiss authorities have confirmed:

"Das Privatarchiv Hess umfasst zwei Akzessionen J1.211 1989/148 (Privater Schriftwechsel Rudolf Hess, 1908-1987) und J1.211 1993/200 (Privater Schriftwechsel Familie Hess, 1933-1945). Die Unterlagen gelangten 1989 und 1993 ins Schweizerische Bundesarchiv. Die Unterlagen unterstehen einer Schutzfrist von 30 respektive 50 Jahren. Massgebend ist das Abschlussdatum eines Dossiers. Zuständig für eine Bewilligung innerhalb der Schutzfrist ist das Schweizerische Bundesarchiv.
Der Nachlass wurde von Herrn Wolf Rüdiger Hess, Sohn von Rudolf Hess, im Bundesarchiv deponiert.
Es bestehen Abgabeverzeichnisse zu beiden Akzessionen, die aber nur in unserem Lesesaal einsehbar sind.
Der private Schriftwechsel von Rudolf Hess (Akzession 1989/148) ist chronologisch geordnet und umfasst den Zeitraum 1908-1987; er ist jahrgangsweise durch Registerbände erschlossen. Aufgrund der Abgabeverzeichnisse sind die Korrespondenzpartner nicht ersichtlich. Die Unterlagen enthalten ausschliesslich private Korrespondenz, insb. die (zensierte) Familienkorrespondenz aus Spandau nach 1945.
Der private Schriftwechsel der Familie Hess (Akzession 1993/300) ist alphabetisch geordnet und umfasst den Zeitraum 1933-45.
Der Nachlass von Rudolf Hess ist der historischen Forschung seit Längerem bekannt. ... "

Mr Irving comments (Saturday, August 29, 2009):

Very interesting .... That is a slap in the face for the Germans. But I understand it, because the Swiss authorities looked after his interests very well and sedulously during his incarceration by Churchill, and the Swiss minister was always a welcome guest in his prison cell in Britain. The Swiss archives already let me read many of the letters they held when I was researching my 1987 book.

Related items on this website:

Our dossier on Rudolf Hess

Our dossier on Hitler

David Irving: Hess: The Missing Years (free download)
Download this Hess Documents inventory - in German (pdf)
  David Irving: a Radical's Diary, 1990: searching the secret files of Rudolf Hess
  British attempts to free Hess from Spandau were thwarted by Russians
  Did Duke of Hamilton have a secret meeting with Hess before the one recorded in the archives?
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