German neo-Nazis used a service offered by Deutsche Post to create a 55-cent stamp carrying a portrait of Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess, the company said Wednesday.
The latest newsletter of the far-right National Democratic Party gloated about being able to slip the stamp past Deutsche Post's quality control personnel.
"The Hess stamp is out there," wrote Hannes Natter in the May edition of Deutsche Stimme, or German Voice.
Deutsche Post spokesman Dirk Klasen confirmed someone had managed to slip an order of 20 of the stamps past the company by using a service that has been printing customized stamps since February -- usually for birthdays, anniversaries or other celebrations.
"It runs in most cases without difficulty," Klasen said. "Only with the Hess image did something go awry."
The service allows individuals to upload their own pictures over the Internet for a custom stamp design, and order anywhere from 20 to 10,000 of them with a starting price of around $55.
Deutsche Post was reviewing its oversight procedures, Klasen said, though he added that "there can be no 100 percent certainty" that something else would not slip through.
Hess, deputy to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, was arrested in Britain in 1941 after parachuting into the country on a peace mission. He was sentenced to life in prison for war crimes at the postwar Nuremberg trials of
senior Nazi officials.
From the mid-1960s, he was the only prisoner at Berlin's Spandau prison, guarded by an international team of wardens from Britain, France, the US and Soviet Union. He killed himself there in 1987 at age 93.
He is a hero to the German far-right scene, members of which often use the anniversary of his death in August to stage demonstrations.