The death of Adolf Hitler was announced in April 1945. Taoiseach of Ireland Éamon de Valera signed the book of condolences at the German embassy in Dublin when the announcement was made. During the visit to the embassy he also held a meeting with the German Ambassador to Ireland Edouard Hemple.
The incident gave rise to international anger, dismay and condemnation. It came as the world was trying to come to terms with the barbaric atrocities committed by Hitler and the National Socialist Party of Germany (Nazi’s) during World War II.
Just a couple of months previous to de Valera’s visit to the German Embassy, photo and film coverage had emerged of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. The coverage had shown in graphic detail the horror of the Holocaust. Genocide on an enormous scale had been committed at concentration camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The media in the US carried extensive reports of the visit by de Valera to the German Embassy. The visit was condemned as ‘neutrality gone mad’ (New York Times) and ‘moral myopia’ (Washington Post). Irish Americans were also outraged by de Valera’s actions. Angela Walsh from New York wrote: ‘Have you seen the motion pictures of the victims of German concentration camps, de Valera? Have you seen the crematoriums? Have you seen the bodies of little children murdered by Nazi hands?….Have you seen the living dead, de Valera? Skin stretched over bone, and too weak to walk?’
It was also noted that Salazar, the dictator in Portugal had flags flown at half-mast when the death of the man who had come be regarded as the enemy of the human race was announced. Other neutral counties such as Switzerland and Sweden did not offer their condolence.
Éamon de Valera, leader of Fianna Fáil and Taoiseach of Ireland went to the German Embassy in Dublin following the death of Adolf Hitler to sign the book of condolences in the year 1945 On This Day.
Auschwitz-Birkenau 65 years later.
Photo by FaceMePLS