Saturday, 5 March 2011

Hitler's man in Dublin (2)

Yesterday (4 March) the Irish Times carried another letter in the ongoing correspondence about Dr Eduard Hempel, this one by Daragh Downes of Dublin.  It provides some more useful information about events in Eire just before and during the 2nd World War.

Dr Hempel as 'Hitler's man'?
On March 25th 1938, Eduard Hempel wrote to taoiseach Eamon de Valera complaining about a recent demonstration on Dublin's O'Connell Street against the Nazi Anschluss of Austria.  This event having included 'remarks of a disparaging kind' about the Fuhrer as well as the burning of 'the Swastika flag'.  Hempel respectfully requested that the 'offenders' be 'punished'.
Later that year Hempel presented W B Yeats with a personally dedicated copy of Germany Speaks, a Nazi propaganda book with a preface by Reich minister for foreign affairs Joachim von Ribbentrop.  Among the themes touched upon in that book is a 'systematic population policy' entailing the sterilisation of epileptics, schizophrenics, manic depressives, those deemed mentally deficient and the congenitally deaf and blind.
On December 7th 1938 Hempel reported to his masters in Berlin that the Irish were 'beginning to be more lucid than before about the dangers of an icnrease in the Jewish population in Ireland and of the necessity of a fundamental solution of the Jewish question.'
When de Valera visited Hempel on May 2nd, 1945, to convey the Irish government's condolences on the death of Hitler, he found the Nazi German minister to Ireland in a distraught state.  Hempel kept repeating the words, 'It's all so humiliating, it's all so humiliating.'  After the war, Hempel's chief anxiety seems to have concerned the fate of condemned Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg.
Daragh Downes

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