HESS'S SHAM LOST MEMORY; Confession to Nuremberg Court

The Birmingham Post (England), March 2, 1999 | Go to article overview

HESS'S SHAM LOST MEMORY; Confession to Nuremberg Court


An admission that his supposed loss of memory had been simulated for "a tactical reason" was made by Hess at the Nuremberg trial yesterday.

Even when he talked with his counsel, he said, he still feigned loss of memory, and his counsel had therefore acted in good faith.

Orders for the execution of British Commandos, for the murder of the French Generals Giraud and Weygand and for the abandonment, without food or shelter, of "great masses" of Russians, who resorted to cannibalism, were described in evidence by General Lahausen, former deputy to Admiral Canaris, head of Germany's espionage service.

Lahausen also told how a German-Polish "border incident" was faked when men taken from German concentration camps were dressed in Polish uniforms and ordered to make a sham attack on a radio station. All the SS men who took part in the action were killed afterwards.

PLEA TO QUASH

PROCEEDINGS

Hess's confession followed a plea by his counsel, Dr von Rohrscheidt, for the Court temporarily to quash the proceedings against Hess on the grounds that he was not capable of pleading. After hearing Hess the Court adjourned without giving a decision.

When Lord Justice Lawrence, president, announced an adjournment so that the Court could hear in private "the question of the defendant Hess," all the other accused men were removed from the dock and Hess stood alone.

Hess laughed when his counsel quoted experts' reports that Hess could not conduct a proper defence owing to amnesia, and said that he did not mean to imply that Hess was "too insane." "I myself disagree with Hess's own, contention that he is fit to go on," counsel added.

Lord Justice Lawrence: Is the defendant not capable of understanding the proceedings?

Counsel: He is mentally sound, but he cannot face a witness and carry out an adequate defence.

Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, one of the British prosecutors, argued that ability to follow the proceedings was not the same as ability to remember the real issue. When he read psychiatrists' reports that Hess was sane enough to know that he was imprisoned at Nuremberg, Hess laughed again.

Justice Jackson, chief United States prosecutor, supported the contention that Hess should be tried, saying that he had refused treatment until after the trial, and had therefore forfeited any privileges under the sanity law. …

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