May 27th, 1947


FROM THE ARCHIVES:Hermann Goertz, the most successful Nazi spy in Ireland during the second World War, killed himself when told his appeal against deportation back to Germany in 1947 was refused. This is the report of his funeral. – JOE JOYCE

A“Heil, Hitler” was heard and Nazi salutes were given when Hermann Goertz, who ended his life of espionage on behalf of Nazi Germany when he swallowed a phial of poison at the Aliens Office, Dublin, on Friday, was buried in Dean’s Grange Cemetery, Co Dublin, yesterday.

More than 200 persons attended the funeral. The chapel was crowded during a short service, conducted by the Rev. K. D. B. Dobbs, the Church of Ireland chaplain, before the burial.

After the service, when the coffin was being removed to the grave, the large swastika flag, which had been draped over the coffin since Saturday, was whipped off by the wind. A young woman rushed forward and tried to throw it over the coffin, but the wind blew it off again, and it was placed on a carriage with a number of wreaths.

Swastika badges were worn by many in the crowd. Most of them were displayed by women, who were weeping bitterly as the coffin was carried to the grave. Some young men wore German Air Force badges and a boy carried a miniature Nazi flag. Two women wore the ribbons of the 1916 medal.

A young woman stepped to the graveside after the burial and gave the Nazi salute, and whispered “Heil, Hitler.”

After the wreaths had been put on the grave a young woman spread the swastika flag over them and placed stones on its edges, while friends photographed the scene. She was reluctant to give her name saying: “I would prefer it if my name was not published.” When the ceremony was over she folded the flag and took it away with her.

Werner Unland, who is on parole awaiting deportation, was at the funeral. Mr Dan Breen, TD, Mr Charles J McGuinness and Mrs Preetz, whose husband Wilhelm Preetz was deported on April 15th also attended, along with many other Germans who live and work in Dublin.

A young man, who gave his name as Hans Waider, told an Irish Times reporter that he was the only German who helped to carry the coffin from the chapel to the grave. He explained that he worked in Dublin, but was not a close friend of Hermann Goertz.

“I would like my name mentioned,” he said. “I helped to carry the coffin. I was the only German to do so I think. The rest were Irishmen.”

After the coffin was lowered into the grave, some people took pieces of earth as mementoes. Many wreaths were placed on the grave. One of them, a large bunch of red tulips tied with black crepe, bore a small card with a swastika painted on it. There was no name on the card.

Other wreaths had cards attached announcing that they were from “Maisie”, “Mary”, “My dearest friend – from Bridie,” and there was one from “Muriel and Werner Unland.”