Hitler protected Jewish ex-commander

July 7, 2012 at 2:16 AM

DUSSELDORF, Germany, July 7 (UPI) -- Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler, who presided over the killing of millions of Jews, took steps to assure the safety of one -- his former commanding officer.

An Aug. 27, 1940, letter written by Heinrich Himmler, head of the Gestapo and SS, uncovered in Dusseldorf revealed that Hitler had intervened to make sure Ernst Hess, a judge who had been his commander in World War I, was protected from the systematic killings of Jews and others now called the Holocaust, the Daily mail reported Thursday.

The story of Hess' unlikely protector has been confirmed by his daughter Ursula, 86, the British newspaper said.

Hess was baptized a protestant but his mother was Jewish, making him a "full-blooded Jew" in the eyes of the Nazis. He was a highly decorated officer in the German army in World War I and later became a judge, a position he was forced to quit in 1936 under the Nazis' anti-Semitic policies.

But Hitler saw to it that Hess did not befall the same fate suffered by about 6 million of other Jews. The letter said Hess was not to be "persecuted or deported" and that he must be afforded "relief and protection as per the Fuhrer's wishes." Himmler went on to say that Hess was "not to be inopportuned in any way whatsoever."

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