Walter Richard Rudolf Hess [Heß in German] (26 April 1894 – 17 August 1987) was a prominent figure in Nazi Germany, acting as Adolf Hitler's deputy in the Nazi Party. On the eve of war with the Soviet Union, he flew to Scotland in an attempt to negotiate peace, but was arrested. He was tried at Nuremberg and sentenced to life in prison where he died in 1987, apparently by suicide.
- You take an oath to a man whom you know follows the laws of providence, which he obeys independently of the influence of earthly powers, who leads the German people rightly, and who will guide Germany's fate. Through your oath you bind yourselves to a man who — that is our faith — was sent to us by higher powers. Do not seek Adolf Hitler with your mind. You will find him through the strength of your hearts!
- "The Oath to Adolf Hitler" (1934)
- I was permitted to work for many years of my life under the greatest son whom my people has brought forth in its thousand year history. Even if I could, I would not want to erase this period of time from my existence. I am happy to know that I have done my duty, to my people, my duty as a German, as a National Socialist, as a loyal follower of my Führer. I do not regret anything. If I were to begin all over again, I would act just as I have acted, even if I knew that in the end I should meet a fiery death at the stake. No matter what human beings may do, I shall some day stand before the judgment seat of the Eternal. I shall answer to Him, and I know He will judge me innocent.
- Last statement by Heß to the International Military Tribunal in Nüremberg (31 August 1946)
- My coming to England in this way is, as I realize, so unusual that nobody will easily understand it. I was confronted by a very hard decision. I do not think I could have arrived at my final choice unless I had continually kept before my eyes the vision of an endless line of children's coffins with weeping mothers behind them, both English and German, and another line of coffins of mothers with mourning children.
- Statement of 10 June 1941, as quoted in Rudolf Hess: Prisoner of Peace (1982) by Ilse Hess (his wife).
- Thanks to the directors for addressing this message to my home. Written several minutes before my death.
- Suicide note, found in his pocket. (17 August 1987)
Prisoner #7: Rudolph Hess (1974)
- Quotations of Hess from Prisoner #7: Rudolph Hess, The Loneliest Man In The World by Lt. Col. Eugene K. Bird (ISBN 0670578312)
- People don't forget, do they?
- I have been reading about the problems of youth. You know, with all the criticism that was levelled at von Schirach and his Hitler Jugend, it is forgotten that he did a fantastic thing with Germany's young. He kept them busy, he kept them out of trouble. In those years we did not have to concern ourselves with the worry of youths taking drugs, getting involved in crime, and sexual permissiveness. We did not have burning of national flags and draft cards. We had a healthy youth with healthy minds, all pulling together to build a nation. That is what we need today. We need to get them back on the right track.
- When his Prison Director replied with: "But surely, you were doing all this for a different purpose. You were building a super-race for war, for conquests. Today youth is rebelling because we made a mess of the world." Hess retorted: "Maybe, but they won't make a better world with drugs."
- Bravo, Streicher!
- Rudolf Hess yells this out from his cell when Streicher refused to get dressed for his execution, 10/16/46
- Reflecting upon the whole of the story, I am glad not to be responsible for the way in which Hess has been and is being treated. Whatever may be the moral guilt of a German who stood near to Hitler, Hess had, in my view, atoned for this by his completely devoted and frantic deed of lunatic benevolence. He came to us of his own free will, and, though without authority, had something of the quality of an envoy. He was a medical and not a criminal case, and should be so regarded.
- Winston Churchill, in The Grand Alliance (1950), p. 55.
- I often found him warm and humourous.
- Lt. Col. Eugene K. Bird
- I was the only man he trusted.
- Lt. Col. Eugene K. Bird
- I saw Hess's pendulum and he used it. I never paid any attention to his strange ideas. He was quiet and bothered nobody. I knew a great surgeon who believed in a similar pendulum, using it the same way Hess did. Apparently, it's a common superstition.
- Hermann Goering
- [to Leon Goldensohn, May 27, 1946, about Hess using a pendulum that he would swing in order to decide whether or not a letter sent to him was from an enemy or an ally]
- Hess was slightly off balance for as long as I can recall. Why the Fuhrer kept him on as head of the party was a mystery to most people, but to me I always felt it was Hitler's loyalty to his old friends. I remember Hess had a bright idea once in treating me for some neuralgia that I had at the time. It was in 1936 or so. Anyway, one day lots of pots and pans arrived of all different sizes. I didn't know what they were for. One was for soaking my arm, another my forearm, another size for my leg, my thing, and so on. I called him up and asked him what he had sent me so many pots for - did he think I wanted to start an aquarium? But Hess explained that I told him I had neuralgia and that this was the treatment for it. I thanked him over the telephone and laughed for days.
- Hermann Goering
- [to Leon Goldensohn, May 27, 1946]
- I was suspicious for several reasons... after all, Hess who had been held in Spandau for almost 30 years was by then 93-years-old and fragile. I doubted he had the strength to kill himself with a cord which was not attached at both ends to anything.
- Lt. Col. Eugene K. Bird on the death of Hess, to a Deutsche Presse-Agentur reporter, as quoted in "Former governor of Spandau Prison dies in Berlin" in Expatica (7 November 2005)
- A number three man who was merely an innocent middleman transmitting Hitler's orders without even reading them, like a postman or delivery boy.
- The zealot Hess, before succumbing to wanderlust [flew to Scotland in May 1941], was the engineer tending the party machinery, passing orders and propaganda down to the Leadership Corps, supervising every aspect of party activities, and maintaining the organization as a loyal and ready instrument of power.
- Robert H. Jackson
- Among the higher leadership [in the Nazi Party], while there is still a certain unity, personalities are beginning to play a constantly greater part. Hitler is perhaps more powerful than before, but he becomes more and more a figure separated from actualities. He depends a great deal on Hess, who is really his confidential man now and whom it is likely he may make Foreign Minister. Goering and Goebbels still remain good comrades of Hitler and are undoubtedly attached to him, but the difference* between Goering and Goebbels are becoming more evident. Goering is more moderate, while Goebbels, sensing the feeling of the masses and being above all an opportunist is becoming more radical. If It would come to a show-down between the radical and moderate elements, Goering would, however, undoubtedly be likely to be on the radical side as the one having the more chances. [...] If this Government remains in power for another year and carries on in the same measure in this direction, it will go far towards making Germany a danger to world peace for years to come.
This is a very disjointed and incoherent letter. I am dictating it under pressure as I wish to catch the courier pouch. What I do want to say really is that for the present this country is headed in directions which can only carry ruin to it and will create a situation here dangerous to world peace. With few exceptions, the men who are running this Government are of a mentality that you and I cannot understand. Some of them are psychopathic cases and would ordinarily be receiving treatment somewhere. Others are exalted and in a frame of mind that knows no reason. The majority are woefully ignorant and unprepared for the tasks which they have to carry through every day. Those men in the party and in responsible positions who are really worth-while, and there are quite a number of these, are powerless because they have to follow the orders of superiors who are suffering from the abnormal psychology prevailing in the country.