BONN (Aug. 17)
Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s former deputy, died Monday in a British Military Hospital in West Berlin. The 93-year-old Hess was the sole remaining prisoner in Spandau Prison there.
In 1941, he parachuted into Scotland and was captured. His reasons for the jump have remained a mystery. He was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment at the Nuremberg war crimes trials in 1947.
Last year, Chancellor Helmut Kohl sent a personal plea to the leaders of the Big Four wartime powers to pardon Hess, who had been hospitalized. Kohl’s bid to “mercifully release the prisoner into the bosom of his family” met with criticism by many, including the head of Poland’s Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes. However, Kohl’s plea was an echo of many letters and rallies in West Germany over the years calling for Hess’s release.