European Jewish Congress
Ireland's Schindler, the little known story of the Irishman who saved 100 Jews during WWII
Ireland
Ireland's Schindler, the little known story of the Irishman who saved 100 Jews during WWII

A little-known Irishman helped dozens of Jews escape extermination in Nazi death camps, a new documentary aired on Irish TV has revealed.

The Nuncio And The Writer – which aired on RTE One on August 8 – tells the astonishing story of how Hubert Butler, conducted his own rescue missions to save men, women and children from the gas chambers.

It also revealed how the Irish writer was vilified back in Ireland for highlighting links between the Catholic Church and the genocidal puppet regime in Croatia, set up by the Nazis after they invaded in 1941.

Born in Kilkenny in 1900, Hubert Butler was educated at Oxford before going on to shock his Protestant family by supporting the republican cause.

After his graduation, Butler travelled to Russia to teach English in Leningrad, now St Petersburg.

Following the First World War, he was outraged by antisemitic sentiment in Ireland, after Oliver J Flanagan infamously told the Dáil: “The Jews crucified our Saviour 1,900 years ago, and they have been crucifying us every day of the week.”

Butler, who went on to become one of Ireland’s most celebrated essayists, wrote: “I was as Irish as Oliver Flanagan and I was determined that Jewish refugees should come to Ireland.”

Hubert and his wife Peggy travelled to Austria in 1938, where they assisted Jews fleeing from concentration camps.

They broke the law by shipping people out of Austria to England where Peggy would meet them, before taking them illegally to their home in Bennettsbridge, Kilkenny.

Following the conclusion of the Second World War in 1945, Butler returned to live in Kilkenny until his death in 1991.

But he has been more or less ignored beyond his home county, which was the centre of his international operations.

The Nuncio And The Writer reveals that Butler’s role in helping Jews escaping the Nazis may never have come to light had it not been for the intervention of a young Irish publisher, Anthony Farrell.

Farrell was working at Wolfhound Press in Dublin in the early 1980s when Butler’s work caught his eye from a stack of unsolicited manuscripts.

He left Wolfhound to set up The Lilliput Press and – while Butler was still alive – published three collections of his work and hooked Butler up with New York, London and Paris publishers.

Butler, aged 85, finally received the recognition he deserved six years before his death. Even more importantly, the Kilkenny hero’s heroics have continued to resonate.

Shooting for the new documentary took place in Kilkenny, Dublin, Oxford and various locations in Croatia including Dalmatia, Zagreb and Jasenovac Concentration Camp.

It was directed by Johnny Gogan, a prolific documentary filmmaker who was born in England to Irish parents.

“He got a lot of people out of Vienna who otherwise would have died,” Mr Gogan says in the documentary. “There’s no question of that.”

Click here to read the full article in Irish Times

Thursday, August 24, 2017
More News
Ireland's Jewish population sees surprising 30 percent increase since 2011
Ireland has seen a surprising 30 percent hike in its Jewish population between 2011 and 2016, the Irish Times reported on Friday, ending a decades-long trend which has seen the number of Jews in the country in continuous decline.
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Life in Israel
  • First fully disabled-accessible synagogue opened in Jerusalem
    Construction of the first fully disabled-accessible synagogue in Jerusalem is about to be finished, giving disabled worshipers easy access to the compound, with comfortable seating arrangements for wheelchair-bound visitors, Braille bibles and more.

    On Wednesday, October 11, 2017 First fully disabled-accessible synagogue opened in Jerusalem
  • Survey: 60 percent of Arab Israelis have a positive view of the state
    A poll of Israeli Arabs has found that sixty percent surveyed said they had a favourable view of the state, while 37% said their view was unfavourable.

    On Wednesday, October 04, 2017 Survey: 60 percent of Arab Israelis have a positive view of the state
  • Israel's trade with Russia leaps by 25 percent
    Trade between Israel and Russia has grown this year by 25 percent, officials from both countries revealed, amid complications with other Russian trading partners.

    On Wednesday, October 04, 2017 Israel's trade with Russia leaps by 25 percent
  • Israel aims to double the number of people working in hi-tech
    The Israel Innovation Authority aims to double the number of high-tech workers in the country over the next decade, while encouraging companies in older industry to use more technology and become more innovative, the authority said in its annual report released on Sunday.

    On Wednesday, October 04, 2017 Israel aims to double the number of people working in hi-tech
  • 20,000 Gazan lulavs arrive in Israel
    A shipment of 20,000 date palm fronds were transported on Monday from the Gaza Strip to Israel where they were to be sold for use in a traditional Jewish religious ritual during the coming Sukkot holiday, the Defence Ministry said.

    On Wednesday, October 04, 2017 20,000 Gazan lulavs arrive in Israel
  • Israeli intelligence helped to thwart dozens of terror attacks around the world
    The Israeli intelligence community has shared information with other countries over the past two years that has helped thwart dozens of terror attacks about to be perpetrated by Islamists who were in contact with members of Islamic State and Middle Eastern factions identified with Al-Qaida.

    On Thursday, September 28, 2017 Israeli intelligence helped to thwart dozens of terror attacks around the world
  • IDF declares war on smoking
    IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot has approved new measures to combat smoking in the military after new data revealed smoking during army service rose by 40 percent.

    On Wednesday, September 20, 2017 IDF declares war on smoking
  • Thousands take part in race commemorating fallen Druze police officers
    Thousands of participants took part on Friday in a race to commemorate the 421 Druze fighters who fell in all of Israel's battles and terror attacks.

    On Wednesday, September 20, 2017 Thousands take part in race commemorating fallen Druze police officers
  • Tamar and Mohammed top Israel's baby name list
    The most popular baby names in Israel over the past year were Tamar for girls and Mohammad for boys, the two favourites remaining at the top of their lists for the third consecutive year, according to figures released on Sunday by the Interior Ministry.

    On Wednesday, September 20, 2017 Tamar and Mohammed top Israel's baby name list
  • Syrians express gratitude for Israeli field hospitals
    Dozens of Syrian civilians have written letters of gratitude to Israel and the IDF for establishing field hospitals on its northern border which provided, and continue to provide, medical care to numerous victims wounded in the country's ongoing violent civil war.

    On Thursday, September 14, 2017 Syrians express gratitude for Israeli field hospitals
President's Page Security and Crisis Centre by EJC European Parliament Working Group On Antisemitism