by Gerry Mullins
Dublin: Liberties Press / Herndon, Va.: International Publishers Marketing, 2015. Pp. 270.
Illus., map, stemma, notes, biblio., index. $31.95 paper. ISBN: 1905483201
The Curious Career and Adventures of the Irish “
Irish journalist, author, and editor Mullins brings us the unusual story of Adolf Mahr (1887-1951), an Austrian-born archaeologist who became chief of Irish antiquities at the National Museum in Dublin from 1927-1939.
Early in the 1930s Mahr joined the Irish branch of the Nazi party and became, as he called himself, “Dublin Nazi No. 1,” leader of the two dozen or so ex-patriate German Nazis in the Irish capital. Mahr regularly attended the Nazi Party rallies in Nuremberg, becoming a close friend of several Nazi leaders.
Visiting Germany on the outbreak of the Second World War, Mahr and his family became enthusiastic supporters of the Nazi war effort. His friend Joachim von Ribbentrop gave him a job in the foreign ministry, and he directed radio propaganda to Ireland and also may have been involved in planning for an invasion of Ireland.
Although postwar Allied “Denazification” authorities decided not to bring a case against Mahr, his efforts to return to Ireland were rebuffed and he lived the rest of his life in some hardship and relative obscurity.
Mullins tells Mahr’s story well, albeit not in chronological order. He opens with Mahr’s arrival in Ireland, and then, as the events unfold fills in the background. Mullins also uses Mahr’s life to tell the story of his extended family, particularly during the war years, when his children had a rough time. Mullins weaves the war into his narrative quite effectively.
Although it’s about a very minor actor in the events, this work throws some interesting light on the politics of the interwar period and on the war itself, and has some occasionally interesting anecdotes about several notable figures of the period..