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You've Got Nazi Mail: German Postal Service Admits Inadvertently Printing Hess Stamp

Germany's national postal service has been misused by Neo-Nazis to make stamps of one of the most senior Nazis in the Third Reich. Twenty stamps bearing a portrait of Rudolf Hess were sent out by Deutsche Post.

Neo-Nazis in Germany used a personalized stamp service to create a stamp carrying the picture of Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler's deputy. A spokesman for Deutsche Post confirmed the company's embarrassing slip-up on Wednesday.

Dirk Klasen told the German daily Die Tageszeitung that an order for 20 stamps featuring the war criminal had been sent out by the company. Since February, Deutsche Post has been offering a service which enables people to design their own stamps by uploading pictures over the Internet.

The slip-up was celebrated in the latest edition Deutsche Stimme (German Voice), the monthly magazine of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), the Associated Press reported on Wednesday. "The Hess stamp is out there," Hannes Natter wrote in the magazine.

Deutsche Post's Klasen said the company planned to review its oversight procedures as a result of the incident. "It runs in most cases without difficulty," he said. "Only with the Hess image did something go awry."

Klasen added that postal workers checked the images chosen by customers, but it was impossible to make the system fail-safe. Numbers and symbols popular among Neo-Nazis, he added, are often hard to spot.

Rudolf Hess is a hero in the German far-right scene and is worshipped as a martyr. Hess, who was one of Hitler's senior deputies, was sent to prison for life for war crimes at the Nuremberg trials. He killed himself in Berlin's Spandau prison in 1987 at the age of 93.

maw/ap

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