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The remains of Rudolf Hess were exhumed from a graveyard in the small town of Wunsiedel, southern Germany. The remains will be cremated and scattered at sea to prevent growing visits to the grave-site be neo-Nazi groups.
The local Lutheran church which supervises the cemetery gave its permission for the burial at the time of his death, ruling that the wishes of the deceased could not be ignored, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reports.
But they and local people have since become concerned by the number of far-right groups visiting the grave. Each year on the anniversary of his death, neo-Nazis have attempted to staged a march to the cemetery, saluting the grave, with its epitaph “I dared” and laying floral wreaths.
A 2005 court order banning such gatherings had little effect so the church decided to terminate the family’s lease on the grave.
Rudolf Hess was one of Hitler’s closest aides, but in 1941 he parachuted into Scotland in an apparently authorized solo peace mission, which was denounced by Adolf Hitler. After questioning the British decided Hess was insane.
He was imprisoned by the British for the duration of the war, and jailed for life at the Nuremberg trials in 1946. He spent 40 years in Spandau Prison in Berlin.
He was the last remaining inmate at the prison when he was found hanged there in August 1987.
Editor’s note – The life of Rudolf Hess embraced World War II, his imprisonment, the Cold War and his bones are touched by the rise of neo-Nazi and right-wing hate groups, full circle.