Before I start I have to say I love Ireland and I love living here, but like most nations in the world Ireland too has some black pages in its history.
Although Ireland was supposed to be neutral, at times it took that neutrality too far, Sending condolences to Germany after Hitler died was a good example. What is even more disturbing is that it did harbour Nazi war criminals and helped some evade justice. Often these evil men did lead a very comfortable life in Ireland.
A small number of Germans, Croatians,Belgians and Dutch who arrived in the Irish Republic after 1945. Although some were suspected of having worked for Hitler, there was no determined official effort to weed them out. It is estimated that between 100 and 200 Nazi criminals found refuge in Ireland.
I will be looking at just a few of them, starting off with a fellow Dutchman. Pieter Menten.
Menten, a millionaire art collector, was convicted in the killings of dozens of Jews in Podhorece, a village in Poland, while he was serving as a translator with a Nazi SS unit in 1941.
Menten built up much of his business empire trading between his native Netherlands and Poland, he was a significant importer of lumber for example. He lived in Eastern Poland from 1923 until 1939 when the Soviet Union invaded.
Two years later, he returned to Poland after the Nazi counter-occupation.This background was kept hidden and he lived much of his time in Ireland, in county Waterford in the mansion Comeragh House.
But it all became public in the 1976 when he was arrested for his crimes in Holland. He claimed a case of mistaken identity, but was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in jail.He was freed from prison in 1985 on good behavior after serving two-thirds of his 10-year sentence and entered the nursing home in July.
Pieter Menten died on 14 November 1987, a demented old man age 88.
Andrija Aurtukovic aka Andrew Aurtukovic aka Alois Anich aka the Butcher of the Balkans.
Andrija Aurtukovic, called the Butcher of the Balkans, as a Croatian minister of Interior set up a concentration camp which ended up killing one million under his authority. He was deported to Yugoslavia and sentenced to be executed decades later but was judged ‘too old’
With other members of Government, he left Zagreb on 6 May 1945 and went to Austria. He was detained in an Allied camp in Spittal an der Drau. On 18 May 1945, British extradited some Croatian ministers and Prime Minister Nikola Mandić to the Yugoslav authorities. Artuković was not extradited, but he was released soon with remaining ministers. He left the British occupational zone, then went via the American to the French occupational zone, where his family was. With a Swiss passport under the pseudonym of Alois Anich, he traveled to Ireland. In 1948, with his wife and children, he entered the United States on a tourist visa and settled in Seal Beach, California. The Visa he got using Irish identification papers.
He was eventually extradited to Yugoslavia Artuković died of natural causes in prison hospital in Zagreb on 16 January 1988.
Otto Skorzeny is a special case for not only did he escape to Ireland he ended up working with the Mossad in Israel.
Not an easy man to miss, Skorzeny stood 6 foot 4 inches tall and weighed 250lbs. And he was known as “Scarface” for a reason. He had a long, distinctive scar on his left cheek.
Skorzeny achieved ‘fame’ during the war for rescuing deposed Italian leader Benito Mussolini from an Italian hilltop fortress. Like so many other Nazis he went to Argentina after the war. where he served as a bodyguard to Eva Peron, wife of the Argentine dictator Juan Peron. It is rumored that he had a romantic affair with her.
In July 1957 he traveled to Dublin where he was met with a gala reception by members of Parliament and celebrities. Following his warm welcome he purchased Martinstown House, the 160-acre farm estate in The Curragh, County Kildare.
Skorzeny was recruited by the Mossad conducting operations for the agency from 1962, where he worked with Avraham Ahituv and Rafi Eitan.
On Israel’s request, Skorzeny flew to Egypt and compiled a detailed list of German scientists and their addresses. Skorzeny also found for Mossad the names of many front companies in Europe that were procuring and shipping components for Egypt’s military projects. Skorzeny agreed to work with Israel on the condition that Simon Wiesenthal erase his name from the list of wanted Nazi war criminals and act to have an arrest warrant against him cancelled. Though Wiesenthal rejected this request, Skorzeny decided in the end to cooperate with the Mossad.
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