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Francis Stuart: Artist and Outcast Paperback – 1 Oct 2007
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About the Author
Kevin Kiely received the Kavanagah Fellowship in Poetry, 2006, and will be Fulbright Scholar at Boise State University in Idaho 2007-8. The author of numerous novels, plays and other writings, his next collection of poems will be published by Lagan Press in Belfast in 2008.
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Stuart's own words on his actions are not to be believed. The first lie he told in 1976 published interview was when he claimed that his broadcast didn't usually deal with politics, but very often with literature. Once the broadcasts were published in full it was shown that the reverse was the truth: very few were indeed about literature and many were about extolling the Nazi regime, attacking democracies, and sometimes they contained coded anti-Semitic references to international financiers and bankers. This was entirely consistent with his anti-Semitic view expressed in his 1924 pamphlet concerning banker Jews in Vienna.
Stuart's actions before and during the war are much more reliable evidence of what he did and believed than what he writes after the war as a kind of very transparently self motivated semi apologia intended as a plea to the court of public opinion to please "understand" his actions and him - as the latter are clearly unreliable. Even when asked in a 1997 TV interview a few years before his death whether with hindsight he had any regrets now having written and broadcasted for the Nazis, his answer was " No, I'm not sorry".
In another TV interview in 1998 Stuart claimed that "Well, of course I regret it (the Holocaust)" and that "I never supported that regime and I'm intensely sorry for the hurt I caused so many people by appearing to. As I did understandably appear to support it". So now after all his broadcasts from Berlin (but still not yet published for anyone to examine) in which he continually repeated his unqualified support for the Nazi regime and its military actions and goals, in which he praised Hitler and repeatedly attacked democracies and bankers, even referring to a gang of international financiers; and after all of his pre 1939 knowledge about the Nazi laws and actions taken since 1933 against Germany's Jews; and after all of his exposure to the daily cruel persecution taking place right in front of his own eyes in Berlin and Germany; after all these things Stuart actually had the neck to tell us that his own broadcasts and actions never meant that he supported that regime, and really it only appeared to indicate that he did! Did he really take us all for fools? Yes, clearly he did and did not care one bit that one day he might be found out posthumously.
Thus, even during his last years Stuart continued to try deceive his public, to try to muddy the waters and throw doubt into what we now know to be downright lies, as exposed by the publication of his own words used in his Berlin broadcasts (which had not been published by the time of the above interviews) and by his earlier 1924 anti-Semitic statement and his later 1939 opposition to Ireland admitting in Jewish refugees.
Stuart could have written post-war at some point about Nazism and the persecutions and unbelievable suffering endured by the victims of Nazism, and not just by German Jews and others viewed as unfit to be part of the future Third Reich, but also the suffering of all those who showed any opposition or doubts about Nazi actions. After all, Stuart had a unique daily view from his 2 years there right in the capital and heart of Nazism. His silence after the war on these aspects of his experience, as opposed to his devotion to write about his alleged own psychic suffering in Black List etc was truly deafening, but is however entirely consistent with someone who unstintingly identified with Hitler and the Nazis in their goals to destroy the democracies of the Allies and the alleged dictatorships of gangs of international financiers.
And this was the nature of the person that Ireland's association of foremost artists, Aosdana, voted to honour (President Robinson hersefl giving the honour) with its highest award (Saoi, a wise one): This was the man who after he had heard so many anti-Hitler jibes in England decided to find out more about Hitler and the new Germany and would then exclaim after he had done this that "I would become completely fired by enthusiasm". This was the one Irishman who just one month following Kristallnacht in November 1938 (when all over Germany anti-Semitic pogroms were carried out leading to at least 90 Jews being murdered, 30,000 sent to concentration camps, over a 1000 synagogues burned to the ground, an estimated 7000 Jewish businesses destroyed, and countless Jewish homes schools and hospitals ransacked) would take a public stance (writing a letter to the Irish Times) opposing any effort by Ireland to admit Jewish refugees. This was the man who a few months later would be happy to take up an offer from a Nazi counter-intelligence agent in Ireland, Helmut Clissmann, to go to Nazi Germany for a few months to give a series of readings. This was the man who after his return to Ireland would again take up another Nazi offer to return to Germany (a few months after the Nazi's unprovoked attack and invasion of Poland) because he said he needed to earn a living and also that he was "heartily sick and disgusted with the old order....which had come to us from the great financial powers".
To their eternal shame, this was the nature and history of the man upon whom Aosdana and President Mary Robinson (the soon to become UN High Commissioner for Human Rights!) thought it fitting to bestow its highest honour. In doing so they both insulted not only the human rights of all the many millions of Nazi victims, but also the memory of the survivors and their families. Moreover, the bestowing of such an honour says much more about the moral compasses of those members of Aosdana who cast their free democratic vote for the award to be given to this previously most active Irish Nazi collaborator and Hitler supporter than about any of the many pro-Nazi broadcasts by Stuart himself. The only award that Stuart deserved was one for having been the most active Irish Nazi collaborator to have escaped being made accountable and tried. Unlike the Irish-British fascist broadcaster for the Nazis, William Joyce, Lord Haw-Haw.
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