New DNA evidence has finally demolished a famous World War II conspiracy theory that suggested Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess had escaped justice after being switched with a double.
Hess – the Nazi regime's deputy fuehrer – was arrested in 1941 after parachuting into Britain on a failed peace mission. Later, after World War II he served a life sentence in Berlin's Spandau Prison until his death in 1987.
But a long-held conspiracy theory was triggered by a British doctor who worked in the prison where Hess was known as ‘Spandau prisoner No.7'.
Hugh Thomas maintained the prisoner purporting to be Hess did not have the correct scars.
Four inquiries by the UK government proved inconclusive.
But now the mystery has been solved after a retired US Army doctor and an Austrian forensic scientist tracked down a blood sample from the top Nazi and compared it with his surviving relatives.
The results revealed there is only a one per cent chance the blood did not belong to Hess.
The research published in the journal
Forensic Science International Genetics
concludes that it is virtually certain 'that prisoner ‘Spandau #7' was indeed was Rudolf Hess, the Deputy Führer of the Third Reich'.
Hess was one of Hitler's closest confidantes, appointed deputy leader of the Third Reich in 1933.
But in 1941 he made the sudden lone peace mission to Scotland, where his plane crash landed.
At the Nuremberg trials in 1946, he was convicted of crimes against peace and jailed for life.
He spent the following 40 years in Spandau Prison in Berlin until he was found hanged in an apparent suicide.