Nuremberg Trial Proceedings Vol. 1
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To the International Military Tribunal:

In pursuance of the assignment by the Tribunal, we, the medical experts of the Soviet Delegation, together with the physicians of the English Delegation and in the presence of one representative of the American Medical Delegation, have examined Rudolf Hess and made a report on our examination of Mr. Hess together with our conclusions and interpretation of the behavior of Mr. Hess.

The statement of the general conclusions has been signed only by the physicians of the Soviet Delegation and by Professor Delay, the medical expert of the French Delegation.

Attachments: I. Conclusions, and
II. Report on the examination of Mr. Hess.
Doctor of Medicine /s/ E. SEPP
Honorary Scientist; Regular Member of the Academy of Medicine

Doctor of Medicine, Chief Therapeutist of the Commissariat of Health of the U.S.S.R.

17 November 1945

Attachment I. Conclusions

After observation and an examination of Rudolf Hess the undersigned have reached the following conclusions:

1. No essential physical deviations from normality were observed.

2. His mental conditions are of a mixed type. He is an unstable person, which in technical terms is called a psychopathic personality. The data concerning his illness during the period of the last four years submitted by one of us who had him under observation in England, show that he had a delusion of being poisoned and other similar paranoic notions.

Partly as a reaction to the failure of his mission there, the abnormal manifestations increased and led to attempts at suicide.

In addition to the above mentioned manifestations he has noticeable hysterical tendencies which caused a development of various symptoms, primarily, of amnesia that lasted from November 1943 to June of 1944 and resisted all attempts to be cured.

The amnesia symptom may disappear with changing circumstances.

The second period of amnesia started in February of 1945 and has lasted up through the present.

3. At present, he is not insane in the strict sense of the word. His amnesia does not prevent him completely from understanding what is going on around him but it will interfere with his ability to conduct his defense and to understand details of the past which would appear as factual data.

4. To clarify the situation we recommend that a narco-analysis be performed on him and, if the Court decides to submit him to trial, the' problem should be subsequently re-examined from a psychiatric point of view.

The conclusion reached on November 14 by the physicians of the British Delegation, Lord Moran, Dr. T. Rees and Dr. G. Riddoch, and the physicians of the Soviet Delegation, Professors Krasnushkin, Sepp, and Kurshakov, was also arrived at on 15 November by the representative of the French Delegation, Professor Jean Delay.

After an examination of Mr. Hess which took place on 15 November 1945, the undersigned Professors and experts of the Soviet Delegation, Krasnushkin, Sepp and Kurshakov, and Professor Jean Delay, the expert from the French Delegation, have agreed on the following statement:

Mr: Hess categorically refused to be submitted to narco-analysis and resisted all other procedures intended to effect a cure of his aranesia, and stated that he would agree to undergo treatment only after the trial. The behavior of Mr. Hess makes it impossible to apply the methods suggested in Paragraph 4 of the report of 14 November and to follow the suggestion of that Paragraph in present form.

Doctor of Medicine
/ s / E. SEPP
Honorary Scientist, Regular Member
of the Academy of Medicine
Doctor of Medicine, Chief Therapeutist of
the Commissariat of Health of the U.S.S.R.
Professor, School of Medicine in Paris.

16 November 1945

Attachment II. Report

According to the information obtained on 16 November 1945, during the interrogation of Rosenberg who had seen Hess immediately before the latter's flight to England, Hess gave no evidence of any abnormality either in appearance or conversation. He was, as usual, quiet and composed. Nor was it apparent that he might have been nervous. Prior to this, he was a calm person, habitually suffering pains in the region of the stomach.

As can be judged on the basis of the report of the English psychiatrist, Doctor Rees, who had Hess under observation from the first days of his flight to England, Hess, after the airplane crash, disclosed no evidence of a brain injury, but, upon arrest and incarceration, he began to give expression to ideas of persecution, he feared that he would be poisoned, or killed, and his death represented as a suicide, and that all this would be done by the English under the hypnotic influence of the Jews. Furthermore, these delusions of persecution were maintained up to the news of the catastrophe suffered by the German Army at Stalingrad when the manifestations were replaced by amnesia. According to Doctor Rees, the delusions of persecution and the amnesia were observed not to take place simultaneously. Furthermore, there were two attempts at suicide. A knife wound, inflicted during the second attempt, in the skin near the heart gave evidence of a clearly hysterico-demonstrative character. After this there was again observed a change from amnesia to delusions of persecution, and during this period he wrote that he was simulating his amnesia, and, finally, again entered into a state of amnesia which has been prolonged up to the present.

According to the examination of Rudolf Hess on 14 November 1945, the following was disclosed:

Hess complains of frequent cramping pains in the region of the stomach which appear independent of the taking of food, and headaches in the frontal lobes during mental strain, and, finally, of loss of-memory.

In general his condition is marked by a pallor of the skin and a noticeable reduction in food intake.

Regarding the internal organs of Hess, the pulse is 92, and a weakening of the heart tone is noticeable. There has been no change in the condition of the other internal organs.

Concerning the neurological aspect, there are no symptoms of organic impairment of the nervous system.

Psychologically, Hess is in a state of clear consciousness; knows that he is in prison at Nuremberg under indictment as a war criminal; has read, and, according to his own words, is acquainted with the charges against him. He answers questions rapidly and to the point. His speech is coherent, his thoughts formed with precision and correctness and they are accompanied by sufficient emotionally expressive movements. Also, there is no kind of evidence of paralogism. It should also be noted here, that the present psychological examination, which was conducted by Lieutenant Gilbert, Ph. D., bears out the testimony that the intelligence of Hess is normal and in some instances above the average. His movements are natural and not forced.

He has expressed no delirious fancies nor does he give any delirious explanation for the painful sensation in his stomach or the loss of memory, as was previously attested to by Doctor Rees, namely, when Hess ascribed them to poisoning. At the present time, to the question about the reason for his painful sensations and the loss of memory, Hess answers that this is for the doctors to know. According to his own assertions, he can remember almost nothing of his former life. The gaps in Hess' memory are ascertained only on the basis of the subjective changing of his testimony about his inability to remember this or that person or event given at different times. What he knows at the present time is, in his own words, what he allegedly learned only recently from the information of those around him and the films which have been shown him.

On 14 November Hess refused the injection of narcotics which were offered for the purpose of making an analysis of his psychological condition. On 15 November, in answer to Professor Delay's offer, he definitely and firmly refused narcosis and explained to him that, in general, he would take all measures to cure his amnesia only upon completion of the Trial.

All that has been exposed above, we are convinced, permits of the interpretation that the deviation from the norm in the behavior of Hess takes the following forms:

1. In the psychological personality of Hess there are no changes typical of the progressive schizophrenic disease, and therefore the delusions, from which he suffered periodically while in England, cannot be considered as manifestations of a schizophrenic paranoia, and must be recognized as the expression of a psychogenic paranoic reaction, that is, the psychologically comprehensible reaction of an unstable (psychologically) personality to the situation (the failure of his mission, arrest, and incarceration). Such an interpretation of the delirious statements of Hess in England is bespoken by their disappearance, appearance, and repeated disappearance depending on external circumstances which affected the mental state of Hess.

2. The loss of memory by Hess is not the result of some kind of mental disease but represents hysterical amnesia, the basis of which is a subconscious inclination toward self-defense as well as a deliberate and conscious tendency toward it. Such behavior often terminates when the hysterical person is faced with an unavoidable necessity of conducting himself correctly. Therefore, the amnesia of Hess may end upon his being brought to Trial.

3. Rudolf Hess, prior to his flight to England, did not suffer from any kind of insanity, nor is he now suffering from it. At the present time he exhibits hysterical behavior with signs of a conscious-intentional (simulated) character, which does not exonerate him from his responsibility under the Indictment.

Doctor of Medicine /s/ E. SEPP
Honorary Scientist, Regular Member of the Academy of Medicine
Doctor of Medicine, Chief Therapeutist of the Commissariat of Health of the U.S.S.R.

17 November 1945


To: The International Military Tribunal.

The undersigned, having seen and examined Rudolf Hess, have come to the following conclusions:

1. There are no relevant physical abnormalities.

2. His mental state is of a mixed type. He is an unstable man and what is technically called a psychopathic personality. The evidence of his illness in the past four years, as presented by one of us who has had him under his care in England, indicates that he has had delusions of poisoning and other similar paranoid ideas.

Partly as a reaction to the failure of his mission these abnormal ideas got worse and led to a suicidal attempt.

In addition, he has a marked hysterical tendency, as shown by various symptoms, notably a loss of memory which lasted from November 1943 to June 1944, and which resisted all efforts at treatment. A second loss of memory began in February 1945 and has lasted till the present. This amnesic symptom will eventually clear when circumstances change.

3. At the moment he is not insane in the strict sense. His loss of memory will not entirely interfere with his comprehension of the proceedings, but it will interfere with his ability to make his defense and to understand details of the past which arise in evidence.

4. We recommend that further evidence should be obtained by narco-analysis, and that if the Court decide to proceed with the Trial, the question should afterwards be reviewed on psychiatric grounds.

M.D., F.R.C.P.M.D., F.R.C.P.
/ s / MORAN
M.D., F.R.C.P.

19 November 1945


20 November 1945

MEMORANDUM TO: Brigadier General Wm. L. Mitchell, General Secretary for the International Military Tribunal.

In response to request of the Tribunal that the Defendant Rudolf Hess be examined, the undersigned psychiatrists examined Rudolf Hess on 15 and 19 November 1945 in his cell in the Military Prison in Nuremberg

The following examinations were made: physical, neurological, and psychological.

In addition, documents were studied bearing information concerning his personal development and career. Reports concerning the period of his stay in England were scrutinized. The results of all psychological, special psychometric examinations, and observations carried out by the prison psychiatrist and his staff were studied. Information was also derived from the official interrogation of the defendant on 14 and 16 November 1945.

(1) We find, as a result of our examinations and investigations, that Rudolf Hess is suffering from hysteria characterized in part by loss of memory. The nature of this loss of memory is such that it will not interfere with his comprehension of the proceedings, but it will interfere with his response to questions relating to his past and will interfere with his undertaking his defense.

In addition there is a conscious exaggeration of his loss of memory and a tendency to exploit it to protect himself against examination.

(2) We consider that the existing hysterical behavior which the defendant reveals, was initiated as a defense against the circumstances in which he found himself while in England; that it has now become in part habitual and that it will continue as long as he remains under the threat of imminent punishment, even though it may interfere with his undertaking a more normal form of defense.

(3) It is the unanimous conclusion of the undersigned that Rudolf Hess is not insane at the present time in the strict sense of the word.

Professor of Psychiatry at the Faculty
of Medicine in Paris
Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University
Professor of Psychiatry, McGill University
A. U.S. Neuropsychiatric Consultant


(*) On the basis of this report and in view of the oral statement by the defendant during the Proceedings of 30 November 1945, the Court ruled 1 December 1945 that "Defendant Hess is capable of standing his trial at the present time, and the motion of Counsel for the Defense (requesting postponement) is, therefore, denied, and the Trial will proceed." Return to the Text

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