Some German Jews escaped the Holocaust by fleeing the country, others hid and some battled to stay alive long enough to be freed from the Nazi death camps.
But Ernst Hess owed his survival to the personal intervention of Adolf Hitler.
The Fuhrer ordered his SS thugs to leave the Jewish judge alone because Hess had been his commanding officer during the First World War.
Hitler looked back on his time on the Western Front with great pride and fondness so, while some six million Jews perished in the Holocaust set in motion by Hitler, Hess was allowed to live on the Fuhrer’s whim.
His remarkable story was told by his daughter Ursula, 86, after a newspaper unearthed the letter sent on the orders of Hitler insisting that Hess was not to be ‘persecuted or deported’.
A file kept by the Dusseldorf Gestapo on him includes the letter from the head of the Gestapo and the SS, Heinrich Himmler, dated August 27, 1940, saying Hess must receive ‘relief and protection as per the Fuhrer’s wishes’.
Himmler made a point of informing all relevant authorities and officials that the judge was ‘not to be inopportuned in any way whatsoever’.
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