Adolf Hitler's former Deputy, Rudolf Hess, spent his 80th birthday alone in West Berlin's Spandau Jail on Friday (26 April), unaware of demonstrations in support of his release both the night before and on his birthday.
GV Civic building PAN DOWN TO people handing out leaflets
SV Petitioners in street
CU Poster of Rudolph Hess
SV Demonstrators carrying banners
SCU Demonstrators talking with police
SV PAN Demonstrators mingle
GV Demonstrators start march (2 shots)
GV Policeman stands outside Spandau prison
SV Demonstrators mill around on road outside Spandau
SV Demonstrator with flowers tries to get through barricade
SV ZOOM IN Man tries to stamp out burning flag
SCU Flowers thrown on top of burning flag
Initials BB/0305 BD/JB/BB/0322
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Background: Adolf Hitler's former Deputy, Rudolf Hess, spent his 80th birthday alone in West Berlin's Spandau Jail on Friday (26 April), unaware of demonstrations in support of his release both the night before and on his birthday.
Some 15 elderly demonstrators were arrested after invading an exhibition in the West Berlin Town Hall depicting Nazi atrocities in Poland during the Second World War.
The previous evening, about fifty demonstrators gathered outside the Town Hall handing out leaflets demanding the release of Hess, whom they described as a "martyr of freedom". Later they marched from the Town Hall to Spandau, where Hess has been a prisoner for the last 28 years. For the last eight years he has been the only inmate of the 600-cell jail over which the Soviet Union, Britain, France and the United States have joint control.
The Hess Sympathisers gathered outside the prison and placed flowers in front of barriers erected by police at the entrance. Some of the demonstrators burned a United States flag. Others carried flags of the former German Reich and sang the anthem "Deutschland Uber Alles" -- the words of which were changed after the Second World War. Police outside the prison kept the demonstrators away from the main gate and refused flowers they wanted nearer the entrance.
Hess was denied a visit by his family on his birthday. The Soviet Union had vetoed the family meting, fearing demonstrations. Pressure had been growing inside West Germany, and internationally, for the release of Hess on humanitarian grounds. He was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal in 1946, five years after he flew on an abortive peace mission to Britain and was imprisoned.
Spandau prison costs the West German taxpayers 140,000 sterling (330,000 U.S. dollars) a year and has earned Hess the tag of the world's most expensive prisoner.