The enduring myth of Rudolf Hess

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On Wednesday 20 July 2011 - the anniversary of the attempt on Hitler's life in 1944 - the public was informed that the grave of Rudolf Hess, the "Fuehrer's deputy", had been razed before daybreak.

Beyond the fascinating coincidence in the date - there will surely be further speculation on this - the decision by Hess's heirs was surprising.

They wanted to commit his mortal remains to the waves and organise a funeral at sea for a man whose mystique and influence on the far-right was strongly linked to the existence of his grave in the Bavarian village of Wunsiedel.

He was already one the most interesting figures in post-war Germany, being the only high-ranking Nazi serving a life sentence imposed by the Nuremberg war-crimes court - Albert Speer, for instance, was released in 1966....

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