We believe that the imposter Rudolf Hess was interrogated by the very best people at MI5. Somebody like Lt-Colonel Robin ‘Tin Eye’ Stephens. Stephens wore a Gurkha uniform and monocle and was an expert interrogator born in Egypt and educated at a Lycée Francais, before spending years as an officer among the Gurkhas, the elite regiment of Nepalese troops in the British army. He spoke seven languages including Urdu, Arabic, Somali, French and, of course, German. He was xenophobic, hated homosexuals and Germans alike, and had a record of breaking down even the most hardened of spies.
Stephens would have examined every detail of Hess’s previous life. No decoy or Hess double could have withstood five minutes under this kind of professional scrutiny (childhood in Egypt, education in Germany, pay, housing, insurance, parents, co-workers, etc.). Every facet of a man’s life would be examined under a critical eye and Hess’ life was well known to his interrogators since he was a public figure and had been on a podium with Hitler for almost 20 years. It is almost inconceivable that the MI5 did not discover the truth about the man.
Even in the first few days in Scotland, the Hess double had already made numerous elementary errors about his past. To a medical professional, he gave the wrong age and declared that he has been one of four children when the real Hess had only one brother and one sister. The real Hess was a well educated, even brilliant writer and thinker, cool and reserved, the man in British hands spouted political arguments with the reasoning of a child. The real Hess was once called the “conscience of the Nazi party” and was a vegetarian, the man in the cell in Scotland was no intellectual and would eat anything displaying horrendous table manners. The real Hess loved to play tennis, but the man in Scotland had no knowledge of the sport.
Another question is how this man got to Scotland in a Messerschmitt plane leaving from Augsburg in Southern Germany without refueling? The D model had a range of some 700-850 miles and the flight to Scotland would take him over 1200 miles. Hess was photographed climbing into a Series D model in Augsburg but later parachuted out of a Series E2 model in Scotland.
It seems self-evident that MI5 would have learned the truth about Hess which is one of the reasons that I wrote this novel. It’s hard to believe, however, that the British government would knowingly send an imposter to Nuremberg for a war crimes trial unless it was expedient to do so. Of course, every intelligence service in the world lies to its citizens and feigns ignorance when it is useful to do so.
Remember the case of the arms of massive destruction hidden in Iraq by Saddam Hussein.
If there was ever a mystery about an imposter, this is it!
*Originally posted in February 2017