Prisoners of the Palace: 10 Famous Prisoners of the Tower of London

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Rudolf Hess

Rudolf Hess was one of the last people to be held prisoner in the Tower of London and his stay would prove to be much shorter than many of the other prisoners that were held there. Rudolf Hess was born in 1894 and grew up to be a part of the Nazi party from the very beginning. He part of the march to Beer Hall and he was imprisoned with Adolf Hitler. While in prison Hitler dictated Mein Kampf to Hess who was the personal secretary to Hitler while in prison and considered to be one of his most loyal followers.

After their release from prison, Hitler and Hess were often together with Hitler believing him to be a devoted follower. In 1934, Hess became the deputy leader of the party and then in 1939 he was second in line after Goering to be Head of State. He gave speeches that loudly proclaimed Hitler to be the best thing for Germany and that Hitler was “pure reason incarnate.”

However, it seemed Hess had something as a change of heart in 1941 when he took a Messerschmidt 110 and flew it by himself to Scotland where he crash landed it. He had the plan to negotiate peace between Germany and Britain as long as Churchill was not involved. Hess was captured and spent time in several different prisons. He spent four days at the Tower of London where he signed autographs for the wardens and was remarkably calm and polite. One of the autographs still remains in the warders bar.

After his time at the Tower of London he was put on trial in 1946 and was sentenced to life in prison. He was sent to Spandau Prison to spend the rest of his life. In 1966, he was the only prisoner left. He died in 1987 by hanging. It was believed to be a suicide but others claimed that he was too frail to hang himself and must have had help. After Hess’ death, the prison was demolished.

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