Nazi criminal Rudolph Hess
Photo: Getty Images
Neo-Nazi pilgrimage site
Photo: Getty Images
For years Rudolph Hess's grave served as a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis who placed wreaths and saluted him with the traditional Nazi salute, but no more.
German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported Wednesday that the gravesite in the city of Wunsiedel in east Germany was destroyed, Hess's remains removed and cremated – to be scattered at sea at a later date.
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Neo-Nazis would visit the gravesite of Hitler's right hand man every year, holding parades on the anniversary of his death. In 2005 the events were banned.
Hitler and Hess (Archive: Getty Images)
Hess was Hitler's deputy in the 1930s but he was arrested in 1941 when he flew to Scotland, most likely an attempt to negotiate over the future of German-British relations and avoid war between the two countries.
He was held in custody in Britain during the war after which he was brought to Trial at Nuremburg. He was given a life sentence for crimes against peace and conspiracy to commit crimes and sent to the Spandau prison in Berlin.
Hess committed suicide in prison in 1987 at the age of 93. Some claim he was murdered by British agents.
In his will, Hess requested to be buried in the family plot in Berlin. The Evangelical Church council in the city hesitated, but eventually decided to respect the Nazi criminal's final wishes.
Nevertheless, over the years the council changed its stance as the site attracted more and more neo Nazis. This year it informed Hess's heirs that the grave would have to be vacated by October 2011. His granddaughter filed a lawsuit against the decision but after negotiations with the church council decided to cancel it.
According to the newspaper the granddaughter was convinced that neo-Nazi activities were damaging the family plot and agreed to exhume the body and burn the bones. The Nazi criminal's ashes will be scattered at sea in a naval burial ceremony.
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