Respectful Insolence

Rudolf Hess stamps? In Germany? D’oh!

Here’s how not to allow personalized stamps to be produced:

BERLIN – German neo-Nazis used a personalized stamp service offered by Deutsche Post to create a 55-cent stamp carrying a portrait of Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess, the company said Wednesday.

The latest newsletter of the far-right National Democratic Party gloated about being able to slip the stamp past Deutsche Post’s quality control personnel.

“The Hess stamp is out there,” wrote Hannes Natter in the May edition of Deutsche Stimme, or German Voice.

Deutsche Post spokesman Dirk Klasen confirmed that someone managed to slip an order of 20 of the stamps past the company by using a service that has been printing customized stamps since February — usually for birthdays, anniversaries or other celebrations.

“It runs in most cases without difficulty,” Klasen said. “Only with the Hess image did something go awry.”

Oh, well, I suppose it could have been worse. The neo-Nazis could have slipped in a photo of Rudolf Hoess, the infamous commandant of Auschwitz, rather than Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy, who in one of the strangest incidents of World War II parachuted into Scotland in 1941 on a self-initiated peace mission and was promptly arrested. He was tried at Nuremburg and ended up spending the rest of his life in prison. After all, Hess may have helped Hitler rise to power, but his madness later turned to a bizarre bid for peace, while Hoess’ madness was to build the largest single engine of mass murder the world has ever seen.

Comments

  1. #1 Uncle Dave
    May 21, 2008

    “He is a hero to the German far-right scene, members of which often use the anniversary of his death in August to stage demonstrations.”

    Interesting that he is seen as a hero to the German far-right? British interogators eventually concluded that he was half mad (not sure which half). Shows what happens to you when you are completely subservient to a far more cunning mad man.

  2. #2 wfjag
    May 21, 2008

    I find Hess interesting for three separate reasons:

    1. He was bizarre enough to support a good conspiracy theory-thriller novel, Greg Iles’ “Spandau Phoenix” (1993) — Iles’ first novel;

    2. His devotion to herbalism, organic farming and veganism. When being forced to respond to proponents of those, noting that the #2 Nazi and person who dutifully took down and edited Hitler’s meandering statements that become Mein Kampf (fairly good proof of Hess’ insanity) was a devotee of those, usually cuts off further discussion.

    Granted, none of those are much of a counter-weight to the horrors of Nazi Germany.

    “Interesting that he is seen as a hero to the German far-right?”

    Uncle Dave: Since the Nazis (i.e. “National Socialists”) were socialists, and as socialists are usually regarded as leftists, are you sure that he is a hero to the “German far-right”? Much of what the Neo-Nazis profess (after subtracting the racism and anti-semitism, which admittedly doesn’t leave much left) appears to be socialist. Then again, is there really much difference between the “far-right” and “far-left” in Germany or elsewhere?

    3. IF Prisoner No. 7 was Hess, he really was crazy.

  3. #3 andythebrit
    May 21, 2008

    Last time I was waiting in line at the U.S. Post Office I noticed an ad for a similar service. I don’t think it’s really meant for NeoNazis, though.

  4. #4 Dan
    May 21, 2008

    I am a military brat and lived in Berlin for 3 years from 1973-1976. I use to see Spandau Prison all the time. Only one prisoner with guard rotations every month between the US, British, French, and Russians. Interestly, I was a teenager at the time at the height of the cold war and it was the most interesting time of my life. Berlin was a great city and I am interested in how things have changed since a last was there. My father was part of Company F. 40th Armor. Boy do I have some anecdotes to tell.

  5. #5 Uncle Dave
    May 21, 2008

    Dan
    “Boy do I have some anecdotes to tell.”

    Do tell?

  6. #6 AndreasB
    May 21, 2008

    Uncle Dave: Since the Nazis (i.e. “National Socialists”) were socialists, and as socialists are usually regarded as leftists, are you sure that he is a hero to the “German far-right”?

    Of course to the far right. The Neo-Nazis are at the furthest right of the conservative spectrum. You can’t seriously think that they would rather hang out with the “stop all war, work for everybody” socialists than with the “too many unChristian criminal foreigners on the streets” conservatives? Just because their formative party had “Socialist” in the name?

  7. #7 Roman Werpachowski
    May 21, 2008

    I’m tired of this “nazis were the left” crap. Just having extensive social policies does not make them a leftist party.

    They weren’t like communists, because they didn’t want to run the economy in a centralized way. Their approach to industry was to foster “special relationships” with private companies (say, Krupp).

    They weren’t socialists because they had no trace of egalitarianism.

    They were just bribing the masses to obtain support for their plans. It worked for a time.

  8. #8 DLC
    May 21, 2008

    Hess has been a figure of conspiracy-mongering since 1941, when people openly speculated that he was there to meet with
    Either the Duke of Kent or the Duke of Hamilton, in order to negotiate a German-British peace deal, or perhaps to overthrow the government of Winston Churchill and install one more amenable to a peace deal or even partnership with the Germans.

    This being said, it should be noted that there is little proof of any such conspiracy to overthrow Churchill, and it is more likely that Hess was simply addle-headed enough that he believed he would be able to achieve some sort of agreement on his own hook. Of course, he was taken into custody as Germany’s highest ranking POW until Hitler stripped him of his rank as Deputy Fuhrer.
    As to why Hess has become an Icon of the neo-nazi movement, I would think it has to do with both the fact that he was the only high-ranking Nazi who did not die during the war, flee to south America or be executed by the Nuremberg tribunals.

  9. #9 DLC
    May 22, 2008

    Whoah. Edit. . .
    strike the word “both” from “As to why Hess has become . . .”

  10. #10 tim gueguen
    May 22, 2008

    Of course they wouldn’t make a stamp of Hoess. After all that would be a de facto admission the Holocaust did happen like the EVIIIIIIL JOOOOOS claim.

  11. #11 has
    May 22, 2008

    Since the Nazis (i.e. “National Socialists”) were socialists

    The Nazis were also accomplished propagandists. Just sayin’.

  12. #12 andreas schaefer
    May 22, 2008

    Interesting.
    This for some reason did not the front pages in Germany. ( as shown by news.google )
    I also took the effort to read the terms and conditions: as far as I can see the responsibility to the legality of publishing images lies completely with the customer – the post-offic/ subsidiary is not REQIURED to check the data.

    Since the man in question is dead the right wing nuts who did this must have forged the statement that the person shown has agreed to be shown. This may open them to a charge of document forgery.

    I also notice that the post office and/or subsidiary ( I live here but I would not try to find out about the company structure unless I am paid for it by the hour ) does not impose punitive damages. Stupid of them – it would be fun to strip the assets of said right wing nuts.


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  13. #13 Harry Eagar
    May 22, 2008

    I’m still trying to figure out why German neo-Nazis would latch onto Hess. Are we sure this isn’t some deep Rovian plot?

  14. #14 michael
    May 22, 2008

    “I’m still trying to figure out why German neo-Nazis would latch onto Hess. Are we sure this isn’t some deep Rovian plot?”

    Easy. Hess is considered more or less “clean” (by neo-Nazi standards, I guess) because he was unable to know much about the most horrible atrocities of the Nazis (plane crash in 1941 and all).

    That’s the neo-Nazi’s way of saying that everything wasn’t so bad, except maybe that “jew thing” or something. Their way of trying to turn Nazism into something acceptable. Arguably only working for the very dumb.

    Hess is a big fat propaganda trick. (But, as everything with neo-Nazis these days, not at all working. That’s at least something positive.)

    Those guys are more or less harmless (well, not if you are an immigrant and meet them on the street). Really dangerous are those who repackage and disguise Nazi ideology. Stripping away the references, using modern vocabulary, wearing suits. Those people scare me.

  15. #15 Harry Eagar
    May 22, 2008

    Ah, not a mass murderer, only an incompetent, crazy mystic. All right then.

  16. #16 Martin
    May 30, 2008

    Hey, this is a fully automated service. No one can ever check all personal stamps.
    They have probably violated Deutsche Post AG’s TOS and can be sued…
    The scandal is that nazi ideas still exist – not that soemone managed to get a nazi idol printed!

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