Memorial to Hess built in a field: Mysterious 'shrine' attracts neo-Nazis and outrage from Holocaust survivors

John Arlidge
Thursday 18 November 1993 00:02 GMT

A MEMORIAL to Rudolf Hess that has become a 'shrine' for neo-Nazi groups has been discovered in Scotland. The monument, which praises Hess, Adolf Hitler's deputy, as heroic and brave, is in the field where he is thought to have landed by parachute after his mysterious flight to Britain in 1941.

Holocaust survivors yesterday condemned the monument as obscene. MPs said they would seek to have it torn down. The marble and slate memorial, ringed by barbed wire, stands in a field on Floors Farm, about 15 miles south of Glasgow. People in the area, who said it was put up about six months ago, added that visitors had come 'from Germany and all around the world'. Yesterday there was no one at the farm, which is owned by Craig Baird.

It is unclear who built the memorial, which reads: 'This stone marks the spot where brave, heroic Rudolf Hess landed by parachute on the night of 10th May 1941 seeking to end the war between Britain and Germany.'

Eastwood District Council has not had an application for planning permission. An unconfirmed report suggests a Yorkshireman who visited the farm paid for it. Hess's flight to Scotland in May 1941 remains one of the more controversial episodes of the Second World War. He is thought to have been carrying proposals for peace between Germany and Britain. After landing, he claimed he had a vital message for the Duke of Hamilton, but was arrested and eventually committed to Spandau prison in Berlin, where he died in 1987. After German neo-Nazis demonstrated outside the jail it was demolished to stop it becoming a focus for the extreme right.

Hess was Reichsminister without Portfolio and in 1938 a series of anti-Jewish decrees were signed by him, or on his behalf by Martin Bormann, his chief of staff.

They included excluding Jews from economic life, suppressing Jewish lawyers, and refusing Jews the right to vote or hold public office.

Jewish leaders in Britain expressed their outrage at the memorial. Rabbi Hugo Gryn, who flew to nearby Ayrshire in 1946 for rehabilitation after spending two years in concentration camps in Poland and Germany, said: 'It is obscene. Hess was an architect of Nazism, as all the courts of the day found.

'The monument is visible evidence that the children and grandchildren of Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels are still alive. Coming so soon after Remembrance Sunday I am horrified. The authorities in Germany razed Spandau and now we see the new racists building new shrines, each one more obscene than the last.'

Greville Janner, vice-chairman of the parliamentary War Crimes Group, said he would ask Michael Howard, Home Secretary, 'what steps could be taken to have this wicked and terrible monument removed'.

Leading article, page 19

(Photograph omitted)

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