Dublin school says it was not aware of teacher’s Nazi past until after death

Louis Feutren, an SS officer and Nazi collaborator in France, taught at St Conleth’s College for almost 30 years

The board of management of St Conleth’s College in Dublin said it is “shocked” to learn that a former teacher at the school who had been an SS officer during the second World War could have been involved in atrocities.

Louis Feutren, a Breton nationalist and SS officer, was sentenced to death in France after the war. He had been a member of Bezen Perrot, a Breton nationalist group that rounded up Jews and French resistance fighters for the Nazis. He fled to Ireland in 1945 and taught French in the school from 1957 to 1985.

Former students of the fee-paying school in Ballsbridge called on the board of management of St Conleth’s to apologise for the presence of a Nazi collaborator as a teacher for almost three decades.

The campaign has been organised by the son of the former Argentinian ambassador to Ireland, writer Uki Goñi, who first attended the school in 1971 when he was 14.


Mr Goñi said Feutren, who died in 2009, “unleashed his baser instincts upon defenceless children, and, far from being an example to emulate, he was a boastful, unrepentant and proud former officer in the most evil and tyrannical organisation of the 20th century, the Nazi SS”.

In a response issued following a meeting of the board of management of the school on Wednesday, its chair Vincent Sheridan said it had been known in the school that Feutren was an “ardent Berton nationalist”.

However, he claimed the school only became aware of the allegations that the organisation Feutren was involved in, Bezen Perrot, had been involved in atrocities after Feutren’s death in 2009.

Mr Sheridan said: “A number of Breton nationalists were given refugee status in Ireland after the war. Some of these, Mr Feutren among them, were members of a particular Breton nationalist group known as Bezen Perrot who aligned themselves with Germany during the war presumably on the basis that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’.

“There are many precedents for this view in the history of our own country. Other Bezen Perrot members also became well established in Irish society and made substantial contributions to the cultural and economic life of our country.”

Mr Goñi was one of a number of former pupils who were assaulted by Feutren. “I was physically bashed by Feutren during my first days there. It was the start of many beatings I myself received and that I witnessed Feutren inflict upon others,” he said.

Others said they had been physically assaulted by him or made to take off items of clothing if they did not know the French word for them.

Mr Sheridan said the board expressed the school’s “profound regret for any conduct by Mr Feutren (and any other person employed by the school) which failed to meet the standards of conduct and education which we have espoused since the school’s foundation”.

In a separate letter sent to Mr Goñi, Mr Sheridan apologised to him personally on behalf of the school and to other students who claimed they were assaulted by Feutren.

“I deeply regret that your personal experience of Mr Feutren, as noted by you, was that he was physically and psychologically abusive. In this context your generous comments regarding your education and your acknowledgment that the school is a different place are appreciated.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times