There are four reports by medical commissions on Hess's psychiatric state, which are given verbatim in Ree's book) in order British, American and Rus­sian, with Professor Jean Delay of Paris participating in both the American and Russian examinations. They run:

I. Dated November 19, 1945

    "The undersigned, having seen and examined Rudolf Hess, have come to the follow­ing conclusion:

    1. There are no relevant physical abnormalities.

    2. His mental state is of a mixed type. He is an unstable man, and what is technically called a psychopathic personality. The evidence of his illness in the past four years, as presented by one of us who has had him under his care in England, indicates that he has had a delusion of poisoning, and other similar paranoid ideas.

   Partly as a reaction to the failure of his mission, these abnormalities got worse, and led to suicidal attempts.

   In addition, he has a marked hysterical tendency, which has led to the develop­ment of various symptoms, notably a loss of memory, which lasted from November, 1943, to June, 1944, and which resisted all efforts at treatment. A second loss of memory began in February, 1945, and lasted till the present. This amnesic symptom will eventually clear, when circumstances change.

    3. At the moment he is not insane in the strict sense. His loss of memory will not entirely interfere with his comprehension of the proceedings, but it will interfere with his ability to make his defense, and to understand details of the past, which arise in evidence.

    4. We recommend that further evidence should he obtained by narcoanalysis and that if the Court decides to proceed with the Trial, the question should after­wards be reviewed on psychiatric grounds".


J. R. Rees

George Riddoch

II. Dated November 20, 1945

"In response to the request of the Tribunal that the defendant Rudolf Hess be examined, the undersigned psychiatrists examined Rudolf Hess on 15th and 19th November, 1945, in his cell in the Military Prision in Nurenberg.

    The following examinations were made: physical, neurological and psychological.

    In addition, documents were studied bearing information concerning his per­sonal development and career. Reports concerning the period of his stay in England were scrutinized. The results of all psychological, special psychometric examinations and observations carried out by the prison psychiatrist and his staff were studied. Information was also derived from the official interrogation of the defendant on 14th November and 16th November, 1945.

    1. We find, as a result of our examinations and investigations, that Rudolf Hess is suffering from hysteria characterized in part by loss of memory. The nature of this loss of memory is such that it will not interfere with his comprehension of the proceedings, but it will interfere with his response to questions relating to his past and will interfere with his undertaking his defense.

    In addition the re is a conscious exaggeration of his loss of memory and a ten­dency to exploit it to protect himself against examination.

    2. We consider that the existing hysterical behaviour which the defendant re­veals was initiated as a defence against the circumstances in which he found himself while in England; that it has now become in part habitual and that it will continue as long as he remains under the threat of imminent punishment, even though it may interfere with his undertaking a more normal form of defense.

    3. It is the unanimous conclusion of the undersigned that Rudolf I‑less is not insane at the present time in the strict sense of the word".

D. Ewen Cameron

Jean Delay

Nolan D. C. Lewis

Paul L. Schroeder

III. Dated November 17, 1945

"According to the information obtained on November 16th, 1945, during the in­terrogation of Rosenberg, who had seen Hess immediately before the latter's flight to England, Hess gave no evidence of any abnormality either in appearance or conversation. He was, as usual, quiet and composed. Nor was it apparent that he might have been nervous. Prior to this, he was a calm person, habitually suffering pains in the region of the stomach.

    As can be judged on the basis of the report of the English psychiatrist, Doctor Rees, who had Hess under observation from the first days of his flight to England, Hess, after the airplane crash, disclosed no evidence of a brain injury, but upon arrest and incarceration he began to give expression to ideas of persecution, he feared that he would be poisoned or killed, and his death represented as a suicide, and that all this would be done by the English under the hypnotic influence of the Jews. Furthermore, these delusions of persecution were maintained up to the news of the catastrophe suffered by the German Army at Stalingrad, when the manifes­tations were replaced by amnesia. According to Doctor Rees, the delusions of persecution and the amnesia were observed not to take place simultaneously. Fur­thermore, there were two attempts at suicide. A knife wound inflicted during the second attempt in the skin near the heart gave evidence of a clearly hysteric demonstrative character. After this there was again observed a change from amnesia to delusions of persecution, and during this period he wrote that he was simulating his amnesia, and finally again entered into a state of amnesia which has been prolonged up to the present.

    According to the examination of Rudolf Hess on November 14th, 1945, the following was disclosed.

    Hess complains of frequent cramping pains in the region of the stomach which appear independent of the taking of food, and headaches in the frontal lobes during mental strain, and, finally, of loss of memory.

    In general his condition is marked by a pallor of the skin and a noticeable reduction in food intake.

    Regarding the internal organs of Hess, the pulse is 92, and a weakening of the heart tone is noticeable. There has been no change in the condition of the other internal organs.

    Concerning the neurological aspect, there are no symptoms of organic impair­ment of the nervous system.

    Psychologically, Hess is in a state of clear consciousness; knows that he is in prison at Nürcnberg under indictment as a war criminal; has read and, according to his own words, is acquainted with the charges against him. He answers questions rapidly and to the point. His speech is coherent, his thoughts formed with precision and correctness and they are accompanied by sufficient emotionally expressive movements. Also, there is no kind of evidence of paralogism. It should also be noted here that the present psychological examination, which was conducted by Lieut. Gilbert, Ph.D., bears out the testimony that the intelligence of Hess is normal and in some instances above the average. His body movements are natural and not forced.

    He has expressed no delirious fancies, nor does he give any delirious explanation for the painful sensation in his stomach or the loss of memory, as was previously attested to by Doctor Rees, namely, when Hess ascribed them to poisoning. At the present time, to the question about the reason for his painful sensations and the loss of memory, Hess answers that this is for the doctors to know. According to his own assertions, he can remember almost nothing of his former life. The gaps in Hess's memory are ascertained only on the basis of the subjective changing of his testimony about his inability to remember this or that person or event given at different times. What he knows at the present time is, in his own words, what he alle­gedly learned only recently from the information of those around him and the films which have been shown him.

    On November 14th Hess refused the injection of narcotics which were offered for the purpose of making an analysis of his psychological condition. On November 15th, in answer to Professor Delay's offer, he definitely and firmly refused narcosis and explained to him that, in general, he would take all measures to cure his am­nesia only upon completion of the trial.

All that has been exposed above, we are convinced, permits of the interpretation that the deviation from the norm in the behaviour of Hess takes the following forms:        

    1. In the psychological personality of Hess there are no changes typical of the progressive schizophrenic diseases, and therefore the delusions from which he suf­fered periodically while in England cannot be considered as manifestations of a schizophrenic paranoia, and must be recognized as the expression of a psychogenic paranoic reaction, that is, the psychologically comprehensible reaction of an unstable (psychologically) personality to the situation (the failure of his mission, arrest and incarceration). Such an interpretation of the delirious statements of Hess in England is bespoken by their disappearance, appearance and repeated disappearance de­pending on external circumstances which affected the mental state of Hess.

    2. The loss of memory by Hess is not the result of some kind of mental disease but represents hysterical amnesia, the basis of which is a subconscious inclination toward self‑defense as well as a deliberate and conscious tendency toward it. Such behaviour often terminates when the hysterical person is faced with an unavoidable necessity of conducting himself correctly. Therefore, the amnesia of Hess may end upon his being brought to trial.

    3. Rudolf Hess, prior to his flight to England, did not suffer from any kind of insanity, nor is he now suffering from it. At the present time he exhibits hysterical behaviour with signs of a conscious intentional (simulated) character, which does not exonerate him from his responsibility under the indictment".

Professor Krasnushkin

Professor Sepp

Professor Kurshakov

IV. Dated November 16, 1945

"After observation and an examination of Rudolf Hess the undersigned have reached the following conclusions:

    1. No essential physical deviations from normality were observed.

    2. His mental conditions are of a mixed type. He is an unstable person, which in technical terms is called a psychopathic personality. The data concerning his illness during the period of the last four years, submitted by one of us who had him under observation in England, showed that he had a delusion of being poisoned and other similar paranoic notions.

    Partly as a reaction to the failure of his mission there, the abnormal manifest­ations increased and led to attempts at suicide. In addition to the above mentioned he has noticeable hysterical tendencies which caused a development of various symp­toms, primarily, of amnesia that lasted from November, 1943, to June of 1944 and resisted all attempts to be cured.

    The amnesia symptom may disappear with changing circumstances.

    The second period of amnesia started in February of 1945 and has lasted up through the present.

    3. At present he is not insane in the strict sense of the word. His amnesia does not prevent him completely from understanding what is going on around him but it will interfere with his ability to conduct his defense and to understand details of the past which would appear as factual data.

    4. To clarify the situation we recommend that a narcoanalysis be performed on him and, if the Court decides to submit him to trial, the problem should be sub­sequently re‑examined again from a psychiatric point of view.

    The conclusion reached on November 14th by the physicians of the British Delega­tion, Lord Moran, Dr. J. R. Rees, and Dr. G. Riddoch, and the physicians of the Soviet Delegation, Professors Krasnushkin, Sepp and Kurshakov, was also arrived at on November 15th by the representative of the French Delegation, Professor Jean Delay.

    After an examination of Mr. Hess which took place on November 15th, 1945, the undersigned Professors and experts of the Soviet Delegation, Krasnushkin, Sepp and Kurshakov, and Professor Jean Delay the expert from the French Delegation, have agreed on the following statement:

    Mr. Hess categorically refused to be submitted to narcoanalysis and resisted all other procedures intended to effect a cure of his amnesia, and stated that he would agree to undergo treatment only after the trial. The behaviour of Mr. Hess makes it impossible to apply the methods suggested in Paragraph 4 of the report of November 14th and to follow the suggestion of that Paragraph in present form."

                 Profesor Krasnushkin, Profesor Sepp, Profesor Kurshakov, and Profesor Jean Delay


Since this article was written, the author has had the opportunity of reading Pris­oner of Peace, translated from the German of Frau Ilse Hess by Meyrick Booth, edited by Georg Pile, London, Britons Publishing Co., 1954, which had previously escaped his notice. This little book of 151 pages carries an introduction by Ilse Hess, describing the events leading up to the flight. It appears that Hess was preparing his plans for the flight for some months. There follows an account of the flight in Hess's own words, extracted by his wife from several letters, and extracts from the correspondence between the couple over the years May 1941 to December 1951.

    These extracts do not show obvious signs of thought disorder nor any clearly schi­zophrenic change from normal. They are dry accounts of his reading, etc., and, apart from one letter being addressed to "My dearest love," they show practically no signs of emotional attachment. Nowhere in these extracts is there any reference to the delusional and hallucinatory experiences; and there is no mention of either sui­cidal attempt. There are a few references to his losses of memory, and in one of them he claims he simulated the loss of memory to deceive the doctors; he does not say what his motivation was.

    Until the material can be published in a complete non‑edited form, it cannot help us much with the problems of diagnosis. After reading these extracts, the present writer does not feel disposed to deviate from the opinions he has expressed in the foregoing article.



All of the clinical data which are the subject of this analysis have been taken from The Case of Rudolf Hess. A Problem in Diagnosis and Forensic Psychiatry by Henry V. Dicks, J. Gibson Graham, M. K. Johnston, D. Ellis Jones, Douglas MeG. Kelley, N. R. Phillips and G. M. Gilbert, edited by J. R. Rees, London (William Hei­nemann Ltd) 1947. Quotations are made by kind permission of David Higham Asso­ciates, Ltd.