Defending Rudolf Hess

Alfred Seidl, the attorney representing Rudolf Hess at the Nuremberg Tribunal,  later helped the Hess family’s survival.  He wrote a book ‘The Case of Rudolf Hess’ which was made into a documentary.  He wanted the French and British governments held accountable for waging aggressive wars in Egypt. He represented many Germans who at times were charged with ludicrous crimes defending their homeland. He died in 1993.

November 30, 1993

ALFRED SEIDL the German lawyer who has died aged 82, was defence counsel for Rudolf Hess at the Nuremberg War Crimes tribunal in 1946, and afterwards represented the imprisoned Nazi until his demise.

At Nuremberg, Seidl conducted an impassioned if inchoate defence of Hitler’s former Reichsminister, arguing that his flight to England, in May 1941 -when Hess crashed in Renfrewshire to be found by a shepherd-  had been undertaken at his own instigation in the cause of “world peace”.

But the most remarkable event of the trial was the production by Seidl of documents said to be a secret agreement between Germany and Russia in 1939, in which the two nations agreed to divide Poland and the Baltic states in the event of war. Leaked to the St Louis Post in America, these papers soured relations between the super-powers.

Hess intended to use the court at Nuremberg as a stage for prolix justification of National Socialism. But Lord Justice Lawrence would not countenance German propaganda…

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