Many of you may already know the story of Rudolf Hess, Hitler's right-hand man, and how he flew off to England to make peace with the British. His plane, of course, crashed in Scotland and he was made a prisoner of the Allies. Hess was immediately locked up and kept in solitary confinement nearly the rest of his life. What truths about the war did Rudolf Hess possess that were of such danger to the Allies? As for me, I worked as a male nurse caring for Rudolf Hess from August 1, 1982 until his murder on August 17, 1987 at the Allied Military Prison in Spandau. On the day of Mr. Hess's death, I commenced my duties, which involved caring for my patient, as usual, at 6:45 a.m. I assisted him with showering and dressing, and was present when he ate a meal at 10:30 a.m. At no time did he give any indication that his state of mind was disturbed or that he was unduly de- pressed. Shortly after the meal, he asked me to go to the nearby town of Spandau to purchase a ceramic pot to replace one that was broken. Mr. Hess would not have made such a request merely to ensure my absence, since I was always absent in any event from midday, during my lunch break. At 2 p.m. I was called to the prison from my flat, which was located outside--but in the immediate vicinity--of Spandau Prison. After some delay I reached the summerhouse in the prison garden where I was told that there had been "an incident." The small door at the front of the summerhouse was closed. When I entered the summerhouse, the scene was like a wrestling match had taken place; the entire place was in confusion. The straw tiled mat that covered the floor was in disarray, although only the day before I had cleaned the floor and had left the straw mat carefully arranged in its usual place. A tall lamp had been knocked over, but I clearly remember that the cable attached to the lamp was still connected to the main socket. It was this lamp cable which the authorities later said Mr. Hess--frail, 93 years old and suffering from crippling arthritis--had used to hang himself. A round table and Mr. Hess's armchair had also been overturned. In summary, none of the furniture or equipment was in its usual place, and there is no question in my mind but that a struggle had taken place in the summerhouse. The body of Mr. Hess was lying on the floor of the summerhouse, apparently lifeless. Near to his body stood two soldiers dressed in U.S. Army uniforms. I had never seen either soldier before. I also saw an American guard, whom I knew as Tony Jordan. There was no cable anywhere near the body of Mr. Hess; as I have said, the only cable was attached to the fallen lamp, which was still plugged into the wall. I immediately proceeded to examine Mr. Hess. I could not detect any respiration, pulse or heartbeat. I estimated that death had occurred 40 minutes earlier. The guard whom I knew as Jordan stood near Mr. Hess's feet and appeared agitated. He was sweating heavily, his shirt was saturated with sweat, and he was not wearing a tie. I said to Jordan: "What have you done with him" He replied: "The pig is finished; you won't have to work a night shift any longer." During the five years in which I daily cared for Mr. Hess, I was able to obtain a clear and accurate impression of his physical capabilities. I do not consider, given his physical condition, that it would have been possible for Mr. Hess to have committed suicide by hanging himself, as was later published by the Allied powers. In my view, it is clear that he met his death by strangulation, at the hands of a third party. But when I voiced my objections, I was threatened with professional ruination--or worse. For years I kept silent. But now I have told the entire story of my time with my friend Rudolf Hess, a man of great vision, intelligence and compassion.
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