Monday 23 September 2019

State Papers 1988: Judge plea for release of Hitler's deputy Hess

Nazi in Spandau prison

Mission: Rudolf Hess flew solo to Britain in a bid to negotiate peace
Mission: Rudolf Hess flew solo to Britain in a bid to negotiate peace

A circuit Court judge wrote to the Government explaining that as his "Christmas good deed" he was urging Ireland to intercede for the release from prison of Adolf Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess.

Judge Frank Roe, who would later become President of the Circuit Court, was one of a number of Irish citizens who wrote seeking Ireland's involvement in the campaign for Hess to be released from Spandau Prison in Germany.

Newly released papers from the 1988 State Archive revealed how successive Governments steadfastly refused to get involved in the Hess case even on humanitarian grounds.

Hess, who was the Nazi leader's deputy, spectacularly fell from the Fuhrer's favour after deciding to fly solo to Britain at the height of World War II to personally try to negotiate a peace settlement.

In the late 1970s and 1980s, a campaign gained momentum for Hess to be released after over four decades in prison.

On December 18, 1977, Judge Roe wrote to then Foreign Affairs Minister Michael O'Kennedy about Rudolf Hess. "This is my Christmas good deed - can you do anything to get unfortunate Rudolf Hess released? (Historian) AJP Taylor makes an unanswerable case. I like AJP very much - he is always very favourable to Ireland and the Irish," Judge Roe wrote.

Irish Independent

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