Rudolf Walter Richard Hess (26 April 1894 in Alexandria, Egypt – 17 August 1987 in Berlin, Germany) was a prominent Nazi politician who was Adolf Hitler's deputy in the Nazi Party during the 1930s and early 1940s. On the eve of war with the Soviet Union, he flew solo to Scotland in an attempt to negotiate peace with the United Kingdom, but was arrested and became a prisoner of war. Hess was tried at Nuremberg and sentenced to life imprisonment, which he served at Spandau Prison, Berlin, where he died in 1987. There have been conspiracy theories linked to Hess. After World War II Winston Churchill wrote of Hess, "He was a medical and not a criminal case, and should be so regarded."
On 27–28 September 2007, numerous British news services published descriptions of disagreement between his Western and Soviet captors over his treatment and how the Soviet captors were steadfast in denying his release. In July 2011, the remains of Rudolf Hess were exhumed from a grave in Bavaria after it became a focus of a pilgrimage for neo-Nazis.
Hess was born in Alexandria, Egypt, the eldest of four children, to Fritz H. Hess, a prosperous German Lutheran importer/exporter from Bavaria, and Clara (née Münch). His mother was of Greek descent, of the Georgiadis family of Alexandria. The family lived in luxury on the Egyptian coast, near Alexandria, and visited Germany often during the summers, allowing the Hess children to learn the German language and to absorb German culture. The family moved back to Germany in 1908, where Rudolf was subsequently enrolled in boarding school in Bad Godesberg, at the Evangelical School. Hess showed aptitude in science and mathematics, and expressed interest in becoming an astronomer. However, his father wished him to eventually continue the family business, Hess & Co., and in 1911 convinced Rudolf to study business for one year in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, at the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce.