Dr Hempel not seen as 'Hitler's man'


Madam, – I find distasteful the repeated references in your columns to Dr Eduard Hempel as “Hitler’s man in Dublin” and “Hitler’s envoy”.

As minister plenipotentiary in Ireland from 1937 to 1945, Dr Hempel represented Germany and its people honourably. He had joined the Auswärtiges Amt (foreign ministry) well before Hitler came to power, and he was not a member of the Nazi party when he was accredited to Ireland (Department of External Affairs insisted on that), though he did join it a year later.

Hitler aspired to be the “be-all and end-all” of Germany. He succeeded in the latter aim, but the German nation was always different from and greater than the state which he embodied during his lifetime.

Official circles in Ireland recognised that Dr Hempel behaved correctly throughout his mission, given the narrow limits of his position. For example, he respected Ireland’s neutrality better than the American minister did. If he were regarded as having been “Hitler’s man”, I would not have been instructed, as an official of the Irish Embassy in Bonn, to attend his funeral in 1972. – Yours, etc,


Avenue Louise,