herald

Thursday 29 September 2016

How Ireland's Nazis made careers for themselves in the Civil Service

history

Adolf Mahr (on extreme left) at a party meeting in Dublin to mark the birthday of Col Fritz Brase (seated centre) on May 4 1935. Brase, a Nazi party member, was director of the Irish Army's school of music
Adolf Mahr (on extreme left) at a party meeting in Dublin to mark the birthday of Col Fritz Brase (seated centre) on May 4 1935. Brase, a Nazi party member, was director of the Irish Army's school of music
Adolf and Maria Mahr
Hitler's Irish Voices

IRELAND was home to a thriving branch of the German Nazi party in the 1930s, including a number of members who held positions in the Civil Service.

There were up to 75 Germans and Austrian Nazi Party members here led by archaeologist Adolf Mahr, who was appointed director of the National Museum in 1934.

Historian David O'Donoghue has researched Mahr's activities in Ireland and his later work for a Nazi propaganda radio service beaming broadcasts here from Germany during the war.

Dr O'Donoghue told the Herald how Mahr pressured Germans and Austrians in Ireland to join the Nazi party during the 1930s.

The German legation at 58 Northumberland Road supplied Mahr with reports of their comings and goings.

Disturbingly, the Nazis also had an accurate figure of 4,000 Jews living in Ireland, which were included in Nazi plans for the extermination of the Jewish race in Europe.

Mahr was on holiday in Germany when the war broke out and he was unable to return to his job in the museum.

broadcasts

He ended up working on Nazi propaganda broadcasts into Ireland. Many of the broadcasts were in the Irish language because the Nazis believed Gaelic speakers might be more inclined to be anti-British. The service provided "jigs, reels, and Nazi propaganda", said O'Donoghue, who explained that more programmes were later broadcast in English.

The Irish leadership of the IRA collaborated with the Nazis during the war, passing on intelligence about the movement of British troops in Northern Ireland, said O'Donoghue.

Other active Nazis on the Irish State's payroll included Fritz Brase, a German Army officer who worked at the Irish Army's School of Music.

Another party member Czechoslovakian Friedrich Herkner was appointed as professor of sculpture at the College of Art Dublin in 1938. He joined the German army and fought at Stalingrad before being captured. After the war, he was re-instated in his job in Dublin.

Heinz Mecking joined the Turf Development Board as a special adviser in 1936, but returned to Germany and died in a Soviet prisoner of war camp after the war ended.

David O'Donoghue's book, Hitler's Irish Vocices - The story of German Radio's Wartime Irish Service, has been republished by Somerville Press.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News