Rudolf Hess was born in 1894 in Alexandria, Egypt, the son of a German merchant. During the First World War he served in the German Army and was seriously injured at Verdun in August 1917. In the same year he got promoted to Lieutenant and voluteered for the flying corps.

In June 1920 he joined the NSDAP and took part in the unsuccessful coup de etat on 9th November 1923 in Munich, which had the aim to overthrow the Bavarian government. Together with Adolf Hitler he was imprisoned at Landsberg. On his release from prison he became Hitler's private secretary and accompanied him on most of his political travels throughout Germany. When the Nazis came into power, in 1933, he was elevated to the rank of a minister and became a member of Hitler's cabinet and at the same time became Hitler's dedicated deputy.

In one of the most startling events of WWII Rudolf Hess made his famous solo airplane flight in a ME 110 to Scotland and arrived unexpectedly in May 1941. On landing he was immediately taken as a prisoner of war by the British, but he demanded to see the Marquess of Clydesdale, whom he said he had met at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He claimed his mission was to seek a peace between Germany and Britain so that jointly they could wage war against the Soviet Union. Clydesdale had indeed attended the Olympics, but always claimed he had never met Hess, who by that time was becoming a marginal figure in the Third Reich; although because of personal loyalty based on their early joint struggles in the Nazi Party Hitler kept him in the public eye.

Just a few days before his flight, Hess had a private meeting with Hitler that lasted four hours. It is known that the two men raised their voices during portions of their talk, and that when they were finished, Hitler accompanied his Deputy to the ante-room, put his arm soothingly around his shoulder, and said: "Hess, you really are stubborn." The relationship between Hitler and Hess was so close and intimate that one can logically assume that Hess would not have undertaken such an important step in the middle of a war without first informing Hitler.

Although Hess' adjutants and secretaries were imprisoned after the flight, Hitler intervened to protect Hess' family. He saw to it that a pension was paid to Hess' wife, and he sent a personal telegram of condolence to Hess' mother when her husband died in October 1941.

Until the end of the war Rudolf Hess remained a prisoner and in 1946 he was convicted as a major war criminal during the war crimes trials which were held at Nürnberg. He was then sentenced to life imprisonment at Spandau Prison, West Berlin.

For many years Rudolf Hess refused visits from members of his family but he changed his mind in November 1969, when he became severely ill and had to struggle to stay alive. He agreed to a visit by his wife Ilse Hess and the son Wolf Rüdiger in the British Military Hospital in Berlin. Thus, on December 24, 1969, they visited him for the first time ...

After being returned to the Allied Military Prison in Spandau, he agreed to further visits. In the years that followed, members of the family visited Rudolf Hess 232 times altogether. Only the closest members of his family were allowed to meet with him. It was forbidden to shake hands or embrace. Presents were also forbidden, even on birthdays or at Christmas.

On Monday, August 17, 1987, a journalist informed the son that his father was dying. Later he received a telephone call at 6:35 p.m. from the American director of the Spandau Prison, who informed him officially that his father had died, aged 93.