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Last Update: 23.03.2017, 13:43
Last Author: Vicki Barnes

Rudolf Hess

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Biography

Rudolf Hess was born in 1894 in Alexandria, Egypt, as the son of a German merchant. During the First World War he served in the German Army and was seriously injured at Verdun in August 1917. In the same year he was promoted to Lieutenant and volunteered for the flying corps. From autumn 1918 onwards he fought in the fighter squardon 35 at the western front.

After the end of the war he became a volunteer in the "Freikorps von Epp", a right wing paramilitary formation during the Weimar Republic. In June 1920 he joined the NSDAP and took part in the unsuccessful coup de etat on 9th November 1923 in Munich, which aimed to overthrow the Bavarian government. Together with Adolf Hitler he was imprisoned at Landsberg. On his release from prison he became Hitler's private secretary and accompanied him on most of his political travels throughout Germany.

When the Nazis came into power in 1933, he was elevated to the rank of a minister and became a member of Hitler's cabinet. At the same time he became Hitler's dedicated deputy.

During the Second World War, in 1941, he made his famous solo airplane flight in a Messerschmitt 110 to Scotland. On landing he was immediately taken as a prisoner of war by the British. While the Nazis declared him mentally unstable, he explained that the reason for his flight to Great Britain was because he wanted to persuade the British government to declare peace with Germany.

Until the end of the war he remained a prisoner of war and in 1946 he was convicted as a major war criminal during the war crimes trials which were held at Nürnberg. He was sentenced to life imprisonment at Spandau Prison, West Berlin. There he was the only prisoner from 1966 until his suicide in 1987.

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Portrait Figures

Only two portrait figures were produced by Haußer/Elastolin and Lineol, representing Rudolf Hess. The Haußer figure shows Hess in SS uniform and was first offered in a sales catalogue in 1934 (Cat. No. 30/9), immediately after the Nazis came into power. Lineol also offered its version of Hess (Cat. No. 9/7/4) where he is dressed in the typical party uniform with a brown shirt. Both figures have a movable arm and are relatively hard to find nowadays.


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