RUDOLF HESS ARCHIVE OF LETTERS AND UNPUBLISHED PHOTOS.
WW2/Militaria/Rudolph Hess 26 April 1894 - 17 August 1987: A unique archive of mostly unpublished letters and photographs and ephemera relating to Hess's incarceration in Spandau Prison from 1946-1987 which collected by William Orwin, Deputy Chief Warden of Spandau Prison.
The collection relates entirely to the sentencing and imprisonment of Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler's Deputy. On the 10th May 1941 Hess embarked on a solo flight to Scotland to attempt to broker a peace deal with the British. In one of the most bizarre episodes of World War II, he flew almost 1,000 miles from Bavaria in a Messerschmitt Bf110 before parachuting into a field near Eagle sham in Scotland, he was captured and then held as a prisoner until the end of the war. He was tried in Nuremburg and charged with Conspiracy to Commit Crimes, Crimes against Peace, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, in violation of international laws governing warfare. He was found guilty on 30th September 1946 on two counts: Crimes against Peace (planning and preparing a war of aggression), and Conspiracy with other German leaders to Commit Crimes. He was found not guilty of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. He was given a life sentence, one of seven Nazis to receive prison sentences at the trial and was transferred for Spandau Prison on 18th July 1947.
Spandau was placed under the control of the Allied Control Council, the governing body in charge of the military occupation of Germany. It consisted of representatives from four member states: Britain, France, the United States and the Soviet Union. Each country supplied guards for the prison for a month at a time on a rotating basis. After the inmates were given medical examinations they were and assigned the numbers by which they would be addressed throughout their incarceration, Hess was Prisoner Number 7.
Rudolf Hess forbade his family to visit him until December 1969, when he was treated for a perforated ulcer at the British Military Hospital in West Berlin. By this time his son Wolf Rüdiger Hess was 32 years old and Ilse his wife was 69, they had not seen Hess since his departure from Germany in 1941.
His fellow inmates Konstantin von Neurath, Walther Funk and Erich Raeder were released because of poor health in the 1950s; Karl Dönitz, Baldur von Schirach, and Albert Speer served their time and were released; Dönitz in 1956, Schirach and Speer in 1966. By the 1980's as the sole inmate Hess was allowed to move more freely around the cell block, setting his own routine and choosing his own activities, which included television, films, reading and gardening. A lift was installed so he could more readily access the garden, and he was provided with a medical orderly in the early 80's. Hess committed suicide on the 17th August 1987 at the age of 93 in the summer house that was built for him in the prison garden, this summer house can be seen in the photographs included in the archive.
The photographic element of the archive consists of eight previously unpublished candid colour photos of Hess at Spandau, he is also seen in the summer house where he killed himself. In addition there are twenty further colour photographs of the interior and exterior Spandau.
The written element contains a large number of personal documents to and from Hess with his family, as well as various requests he made to the prison administration. The correspondence, principally in hand written manuscript form, focuses on family issues. This is all the more interesting because this is thought to have been his principal means of communication with his family and indeed, the outside world as he was permitted limited visitation privileges. Many of the documents include the official Prison stamp together with examples of Frau Hess's business stationary as well.
Hess's personal matters cover a wide range such as family illnesses, birthdays, holidays, gifts, hunting, and sports activities. A particular highlight is a printed card from his son which Hess has written the statement "I made it once to England for you - whether you admit it" on the reverse. The card bears a poem by the German Writer Hermann Claudius relating to Time passing by.
Hess's requests to the administration include those for new boots, a different overcoat, not so heavy as to endanger his fragile heart condition (at 89 years of age), and that wearing a lighter one caused his to "freeze"; articles as minor as a cap, a small reading table, alarm clock, a device to take his boots off with; another request, that he be permitted to receive various books and other articles sent by his wife. The collection also numbers a copy of Hess's certificate of death, Orwin's Identity cards, a Xerox copy of a detailed interview with regard to Hess's state of mind between an American Army Neuroscientist and Hess on 27th May 1948 where he talks about his flight to Scotland, the Third Reich and his personal mind-set. There are also numerous telegrams to Hess, sensors stamps, other identity cards for employees and newspapers signed by Hess complete with Spandau sensors stamp. This archive is spectacular in many ways, first and foremost the quantity of original material written by Hess, the like of which is unlikely to be offered again and secondly it contains unpublished photographs of Rudolph Hess in his last years.
£5000 - 8000 Click here for details of BP and other fees payable on this lot.