Well you might have heard by now that recent DNA tests have proven that prisoner No. 7 at Spandau prison was, indeed, Rudolf Hess, and not a double substituted for him. That, anyway, is the conclusion of a recent DNA study, according to this article that many shared:
As the article points out, and as I pointed out in my book Hess and the Penguins and as many other "Hess Mess" researchers have also observed, neither Frau Hess, nor his son Wolf Rudiger, believed that the Spandau Hess was anyone else but their husband and father. End of story, and the current study seems to render that verdict final:
But not all of Hess’s DNA had been destroyed. During his incarceration in Spandau, Hess was monitored and cared for as was any other prisoner. Spandau was run by officials from the UK, France, the United States and the Soviet Union, who rotated duties each month. In 1982, a blood sample was taken from Hess by a US army doctor, Phillip Pittman, as part of a routine health check. A pathologist, Rick Wahl, mounted some of the blood on a microscope slide to perform a cell count. The slide was labelled “Spandau #7” and hermetically sealed, and kept by Wahl for teaching purposes at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC.
Tracking down living Hess relatives took yet more time. “The family is very private,” says McCall. “The name is also rather common in Germany, so finding them was difficult.” But in the end, they managed it, and obtained DNA samples from a living male relative.
The forensic DNA analysis centred on the Y chromosome, which is inherited only down the male line, and on a range of genetic markers across other parts of the genome. The male relative and another member of the Hess family have seen and approved of the publication of the DNA results, but do not want to take part in any further discussion of the findings.
Statistical analysis of the results suggests a 99.99 per cent likelihood that the blood sample on the slide comes from a close family member of the living relative of Hess, “strongly supporting the hypothesis”, Cemper-Kiesslich’s team report, “that prisoner ‘Spandau #7’ indeed was Rudolf Hess, the Deputy Führer of the Third Reich”.
Citing the privacy of the Hess family, Cemper-Kiesslich declined to comment on their response to the results. We don’t know how the Hess family feels about the closure of the final chapter on the story of their infamous relative. “The conspiracy theory claiming that prisoner ‘Spandau #7’ was an impostor is extremely unlikely and therefore disproved,” the scientists write.
Now, while I held open the possibility that Spandau Prisoner number 7 may have been the real Hess, or a double, I definitely leaned very strongly to the latter view, which would now seem to be conclusively disproven by these results. Chalk that one up in the "big miss" column.
But I come away from this article with the sinking feeling that this is an attempt at a limited hangout of some sort, an attempt to quell and quash any inquiry into the whole strange "Hess Mess" as I called it in Hess and the Penguins. Nor does the "double" problem simply go away because one waves the "DNA wand" and wishes it to be so. The problem is not simply DNA; the problem is Allen Dulles, and his curious attempt to determine if, in fact, the Nuremberg Hess was Hess, and he suspected it wasn't. The question is why. If indeed as this newest test has shown, Prisoner Number 7 was Rudolf Hess, then we still have "some 'splainin to do," namely, why did Dulles think this? Why did the real Hess not seem to remember crucial things about his past? And so on. Indeed, while Wolf Rudiger did not believe the double theory, he most definitely did believe there was much more to the story than the post-war Allied powers were willing to admit, or even that they themselves knew. It was Wolf Rudiger who alleged in one of his books that Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Behin told President Carter that Hess must never leave Spandau alive. And on and on we could go.
In other words, there's much more to the "Hess Mess" than simply a theory that a double was planted at some point, and perhaps shifted in and out of the starring role from time to time. The Hess Mess doesn't go away because of a DNA test. The best proof would be to have a "pre-flight" blood sample of Hess, to compare with the post-flight blood sample of Hess. But for those maintaining the double substitution hypothesis, to do so now would mean that a double was picked who had the same DNA signatures as the real Hess, and that would mean a double from Hess's own family had been selected.
See you on the flip side...