Bavaria is for Beer, Skiing, Polka and PilgrimsPosted: July 21, 2011
It seems there is yet another thing I have to cross off of the itinerary of my next Bavarian vacation. The remains of Rudolf Hess, noted Nazi propagandist and skydiver, were exhumed from his grave in Wunseidel, Bavaria. The tombstone was removed and the remains shall be cremated and scattered at sea.
Hess’ grave was a noted tourist destination for goose-stepping tourists from as far away as Iowa who would come to gawk at the tombstone and pay their respects to the ‘last man in Spandau Prison.’ The general creepiness of the visitors who would travel from distant lands to leave flowers and shed tears are one of the reasons that the town of Wunseidel decided that this was one tourist attraction that they would prefer to do without. That and all the skinheads who liked to descend on their town for rallies in which the ‘achievements’ of a dubious regime and it’s suicidal leadership were celebrated. Perhaps Wunseidel’s populace would like to become known for other things… or think that being unknown is preferable to being known as the Neo-Nazi ‘Sturgis’ of Bavaria.
Check out Hess’ Groucho eyebrows in the pic at right. Although Rudolf’s dad was as Aryan as the driven snow, his mother was a Greek, which probably required considerable pruning of the Hess family tree in order to make Hitler’s right hand appear presentably Aryan.
He also provided considerable fodder for conspiracy theorists. Hess started off as Hitler’s right hand man but abruptly ended up parachuting into
England Scotland where he was promptly imprisoned. Some said Hess was attempting to broker a peace deal; others said he feared assassination in Germany and decided to ‘escape’ to England Great Britain. Like the child of divorced parents, the former allies and the USSR had a ‘shared custody’ arrangement at Spandau Prison. Hess could look forward to Russian guards one month, American guards the next, etc. Long after the West had lost interest in keeping Hess in prison, the USSR continued to insist he remain there, giving rise to yet more theories on what secrets Hess knew and why the Russians wanted to keep him there. Hess hung himself (or was murdered by the British, according to the theorists) in 1987. Before he died, one of the prison doctors made headlines by declaring that the man in Spandau was NOT Rudolf Hess. Others insist that it was indeed Hess but trying to quash conspiracy rumors with facts is a hopeless enterprise.