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Rudolf Hess

July 21, 2011 by staff 

Rudolf HessRudolf Hess, Nearly 24 years after his death, Nazi bones have been dug up and burned. The remains of Rudolf Hess, deputy and confidant of Adolf Hitler, were secretly exhumed Wednesday morning, burned and then scattered at sea, in the joint agreement of their families and church authorities in the Bavarian town of Wunsiedel, Germany.

“It’s what to do,” said Mayor Karl-Willi Beck, according to the New York Times, but did not provide detailed information about the movement.

After serving in the German army during World War I, Hess joined the Nazi Party and quickly became a good friend and confidant of Hitler. While Hitler was in prison, he dictated much of “Mein Kampf” Hess, according to NPR. Hess became a deputy leader of the Nazi party, but his friendship with Hitler began to deteriorate.

In order to regain its importance, Hess parachuted into Scotland in 1941, saying he wanted to negotiate peace with Britain. Captured and detained by the rest of the war, Hess and his attempts were denounced by Hitler.

In Nuremberg, Hess was acquitted of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but was found guilty of crimes against peace and conspiracy to commit crimes against peace. Life sentence became the last prisoner in Spandau prison, in what was then West Berlin. Previously, restriction of four days of Hess’s legendary Tower of London became the last state prisoner to be held in the castle.

On August 17, 1987, Hess was found dead in Spandau evidently hanged himself with an electrical cord. In his will, Hess asked to be buried in Wunsiedel, where his family had a vacation home and his parents were buried. The cemetery, under the supervision of the Lutheran Church of the city, did not object, since they were the last wishes of the deceased.

Hess tomb soon became a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis, and Beck, said up to 7,000 neo-Nazis could visit the city each year.

Memorial march is held every August 17 formally arrested with the 1991 ban neo-Nazi, but when the Bavarian Administrative Court allowed the march again in 2001 became a point of controversy. More than 4,500 neo-Nazis came in 2004 for the commemorative march, and in 2005 banned the overdrive. The following year, on August 20, the “Democracy Day” attracted more than 2,500 representative people up.

Most people denoucned marches, and the townspeople are united against them, said Beck. “The churches and all political parties and trade unions and other organizations joined forces to demonstrate against the neo-Nazis and make the prohibition on visiting the cemetery every August,” he said.

Pilgrimages continued, however, and neo-Nazis had wreaths on the tomb of Hess.

Hess Family and the village church authorities met to discuss the remains because the lease on the burial site was coming up for renewal later this year. Both sides agreed that it would be better to remove debris and the transfer took place in secret.

A leader of the Jewish community in Germany, Charlotte Knobloch, is quoted by NPR as welcoming the initiative as a “clear message”, expressing her joy that “the Nazi shadow on Wunsiedel has finally come to an end.”

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