Hitler deputy's bones exhumed to deter neo-Nazis

The bones of Adolf Hitler's deputy have been exhumed from his grave because hordes of neo-Nazis were using the site to glorify his actions.

Rudolf Hess died 42 years after the war, having spent 40 years in a Berlin prison for his war crimes.

He was a close compatriot of the Nazi fuehrer, and helped him write Mein Kampf while they were in prison for the failed Munich Putsch of 1923.

After he was found in his cell hanged, he was buried in Wunsiedel, a small town in the south of Germany where he had holidayed as a child.

In the decades since, Hess's grave has become a popular spot for far-right and neo-Nazi visitors, with some even attempting to mark the date of his death with wreath-laying ceremonies in the cemetery.

Since 2005, there has been a campaign to exhume the grave and deter such pilgrimages, but those in favour faced opposition from Hess' s granddaughter.

In the face of failed court orders banning neo-Nazi demonstrations at the grave, the parish council which controlled the cemetery decided to revoke the Hess family's lease on the grave.

Hess's grave has now been destroyed, and his remains will be cremated and dropped into the sea.

Last updated: 2:08pm, July 21 2011