"Look at this letter from my wife on February 25. It has been censored again; whole paragraphs cut out. Why can’t they, if she has written too many words, subtract the words from the next letter? Or ask her not to write so much? I understand there are hundreds of letters which come to me. I never see them. They are destroyed. I think they should be saved for me so I can at least write and thank these good people if and when I am ever released. They are addressed to me and should be mine. Last night the Russian warder came in and saw my wife’s [birthday] flowers behind the bars of the windows. He took them away because ‘they were against regulations.’ Why can’t I have my flowers?"
- Rudolf Hess in 1971, following his 77th birthday at Spandau Prison
On one occasion [during the imprisonment in Wales], the Swiss Ambassador brought me a box of paints. However, painting in watercolors is not so simple as I had supposed. Some sort of introduction is needed, I think! I did not possess even the most primitive knowledge of the subject. And there was no white in the box, a serious lack! How was one to mix a grey? Then I get a tube of white but it served only to produce a horrible mess! But I got hold of a book called Painting with Water Colours and discovered—what seemed to me most improbable—that sky-blue mixed with vermillion can produce a variety of beautiful, warm, light transparent shades. Now I understand why Goethe was so glad to have an artist friend with him in Sicily, who could initiate him into such secrets as these; and now I feel able to appreciate the work of the great watercolor artists. Once it seemed it would be so simple, lightly to sketch the lovely pale tints, the grey and pink shades of evening, the shimmering clouds…but now! Oh Heaven help me!
Speer was highly amused to hear about my efforts, when I spoke to him of them, and maintained that painting in watercolors was injurious to the character, as it led to superficiality. It seems I have been preserved from any danger of systematically damaging my character…
"As if they knew the time, the birds would fly down the trees and overhead wires around the prison and settle on the garden trees, waiting for the shuffling figure of Hess to appear, his overcoat pockets crammed with bags of breadcrumbs from the kitchen. He would scatter a handful in one direction, and then, waiting a few seconds, a handful in another, making sure the smallest sparrow got his share. Only the crows annoyed him. He did his best to make sure they missed his handout. ‘They are robbers,’ Hess said angrily. ‘They will take food from any bird that is small and defenseless. I will not give them anything.’"