Missing Nazi File Surfaces, Answers Questions

Sheds new light on Rudolf Hess' ill-fated UK peace mission
By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 11, 2013 10:40 AM CDT
Missing Nazi File Surfaces, Answers Questions
This Dec. 30 1938 file photo shows German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and his personal representative Rudolf Hess, right, during a parade in Berlin, Germany.   (AP Photo)

A dossier containing documents believed to have been drawn up by Nazi Germany's Deputy Fuehrer Rudolf Hess while in captivity in the UK has resurfaced at a Maryland auction house. The 300-page file, marked "Most Secret," helps settle some long-held mysteries about "the Third Reich's third-most powerful man" and his 1941 mission, der Spiegel reports. For one, why did Hess think it was a good idea to parachute into Scotland mid-war? Did he really think the Duke of Hamilton would agree to his plan to overthrow Winston Churchill and make peace with Germany? And did Hitler OK the idea?

The answers, in order: He'd fallen out of favor with Hitler and was hoping to impress him by ending one front of the war; apparently; and no. The documents themselves were used during Hess' trial at Nuremberg, but went missing shortly afterward, and the Local notes that Britain's sealed file detailing Hess' first month in captivity won't be opened until 2017. But the current owner says he "received an anonymous telephone call" 20 years ago instructing him to collect the file at a specific location the next day. Handwriting comparisons show the dossier is authentic; it hit the block as part of an online auction Tuesday and is expected to fetch up to $700,000, reports the Scotsman. (In related news, Hitler's bodyguard died this month at age 96.)

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