Monday, March 14, 2016

Lechi, the IRA and Nazi Germany

I pointed out the 1916 German-Irish connection already and remind us of one of the more difficult episodes in the chronicles of Lechi: the outreach to Germany:

Even more controversial than the robberies and bombs was his decision to contact the Germans.  This was 1940 and 1941; the “Final Solution” had not yet been decided upon. Stern said the Germans wanted the Jews out of Europe and any Jews who stayed were doomed. He offered to cut a deal with the Germans to transfer the Jews to Eretz Israel. He was pilloried by the British and Jews, considered a traitor. In a private conversation with one of his deputies he agreed to accept the epithet, if he might save the Jews by doing so. Ultimately, of course, the Germans were not interested.

A more negative portrayal is here:

Stern sought alliance with the Nazis, both because they shared an enemy in Britain and because Lehi shared Hitler’s totalitarian ideology. During the war Sternists openly celebrated Nazi victories on the battlefield.

An infamous document called the “Ankara Document”

because it was found in the German Embassy in Ankara after the war, detailed Avraham Stern’s ideas “concerning the solution of the Jewish question in Europe.” It was dated Jan. 11, 1941. At the time, Stern was still a member of the Irgun, which he called by its initials, NMO. Wrote Stern: “The evacuation of the Jewish masses from Europe is a precondition for solving the Jewish question; but this can only be made possible and complete through the settlement of these masses in the home of the Jewish People, Palestine, and through the establishment of a Jewish state in its historical boundaries....The well acquainted with the goodwill of the German Reich government and its authorities toward Zionist activity inside Germany and toward Zionist emigration plans....The NMO is closely related to the totalitarian movements in Europe in its ideology and structure.”

But history is also comparing persons, circumstances, developments and attitudes.

Consider this IRA history:

Claiming to be the legitimate government of the Irish Republic, in January 1939, the Army Council under [Sean] Russell's leadership declared war on the United Kingdom in alliance with Nazi Germany. The Sabotage Campaign commenced some days later with bombing attacks on a number of English cities. Russell was also involved in a meeting with German Intelligence (Abwehr) agent Oscar Pfaus...Once in Berlin [by May 1940], Russell was informed of Operation Mainau, the plan to parachute Hermann Görtz into Ireland. Russell was asked to brief Görtz on Ireland before his departure that night but missed his takeoff from the Kassel-Fritzlar airfield. Russell's liaison officer while in Nazi Germany was SS-Standartenfuhrer Edmund Veesenmayer.

...Russell had begun training with Abwehr in the use of the latest German explosive ordnance. This training was conducted at the Abwehr training school/lab at Quentzgut near Brandenburg which specialised in the design of explosives as everyday objects. Russell also visited the training area for the Brandenburg Regiment, the 'Quenzgut', where he observed trainees and instructors working with sabotage materials in a field environment. As he received explosives training, his return to Ireland with a definite sabotage objective was planned by German Army Intelligence. His total training time with German Intelligence was over 3 months.

More here:

Collaboration between the IRA and Abwehr during World War II ranged in intensity during the period 1937–1943 and ended permanently around 1944...Tom Barry, an IRA member who had fought during the Anglo-Irish War and was still active within the organisation. They met frequently with a view to fostering links between the IRA and Germany...In December 1938, the Abwehr II. Ast., located at Knochenhauerstraße, Hamburg, took an English-speaking agent on loan from the English section of the Fichte-Bund headquarters (HQ) in Hamburg. This agent was Oscar Pfaus...A meeting between Pfaus and IRA representatives took place on 13 February 1939...Seamus O'Donovan, a German speaker and former Director of Chemicals for the IRA, made three trips to Germany in 1939. The first meeting in February saw O'Donovan conduct discussions with the head of Office 1 West, Abwehr HQ – Friedrich Carl Marwede, codenamed "Dr. Pfalzgraf". O'Donovan and Marwede discussed the appropriate wartime role of the IRA as it concerned the German Government...By this stage of events, each IRA CS. from 1937 onwards had been involved in liaisons with the Germans to one degree or another. These liaisons were to continue into the tenure of Stephen Hayes and his overture to Nazi Germany via "Plan Kathleen" in 1940...

And here:  Mark M. Hull, Irish Secrets. German Espionage in Wartime Ireland 1939-1945, Dublin:Irish Academic Press, 2003.

And the point of all this?

What was with Lechi and its so-called German connection pales as regards what went on with the IRA but the Irish history is relatively unknown whereas any search of the Internet will bring you to raving anti-Lechi pages which attempt to negate the entire effort of Lechi to liberate Israel from the oppressive British Mandatory rule.

Another instance of a double-standard.



In August 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, Casement and John Devoy arranged a meeting in New York with the western hemisphere's top-ranking German diplomat, Count Bernstorff, to propose a mutually beneficial plan: if Germany would sell guns to the Irish revolutionary and provide military leaders, the Irish would revolt against England, diverting troops and attention from the war on Germany. Bernstorff appeared sympathetic. Casement and Devoy sent an envoy, Clan na Gael president John Kenny, to present their plan personally. Kenny, unable to meet the German Emperor, received a warm reception from Flotow, the German ambassador to Italy, and from Prince von Bülow.

In October 1914 Casement sailed for Germany via Norway — traveling in disguise and seeing himself as an ambassador of the Irish nation. While the journey was his idea, Clan na Gael financed the expedition.

and this

...Casement was about to embark on a course of action which would cause him to be converted from hero to villain in the British mind. He joined the nationalist Irish Volunteers on their foundation in 1913, and on the outbreak of World War I in 1914 he supported Britain's enemy Germany, in the hope that it would assist the achievement of Irish independence. Casement travelled to Germany in 1914, where he endeavoured to secure significant military aid and to persuade Irish prisoners of war to desert the British Army for an Irish Brigade.

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