You may recall my Blog “Fairy Tales more Funny than Grimm” which arose from a report in London’sIRISH POST about Frank Foley of MI6 being commemorated by the unveiling of his statue by Prince William. The justification for this honour was Foley’s alleged risking of his own life to snatch Jews from the clutches of the Nazis before Britain declared war on Germany on 3rd September in 1939.
In fact Foley had long been in the safest billet in Germany, the British Embassy in Berlin, as a long accredited member of its staff. He was so much in the good books of the Nazis, that on coming to power they invited him, and Guy Liddell of MI5 (who flew in from London) to transcribe lists of anti-Nazis which they had seized from Communists, Socialists, Trade Unionists, in Horst Wessel Haus, itself seized from the Communists who had named it Karl Liebnecht Haus.
Foley and Liddell spent many days in that Haus, within earshot of prisoners who were undergoing ungentleInterrogation. The idea was that if anyone on the list was to surface in Britain or Her Empire, British Security Forces, who shared the Nazis’ outlook, could keep tabs on them.
Within weeks of coming to power some 25,000 Germans were in camps for their own safety without even asking for it.
One name on the list was that of a sixteen year old schoolboy who had been living with relations in Germany.British concern for his security was lifelong and public servants devoted the next eight years to steaming open his mail, bugging his phone and monitoring his movements. Never have so many done so much so pointlessly.
He was relatively safe in Britain but did not enjoy the freedom to which his blameless life and his British citizenship presumably gave him title. Nor did he get the prestigious Oxbridge posts which he might have expected for his works were he not a communist. He laboured for years in Birkbeck College, mainly an Evening College. His name was Eric Hobsbawm and he was Jewish.
I wrote to the Irish Post making all these points and cited my source – a 10,000 word article in THE LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS of 9 April 2015 which was a verbatim account of a talk given by one Frances Stonor Saunders headed Stuck on the Flypaper – MI5 and the Hobsbawm File.
The whole thing is on the Web.
The Irish Post published my reply to James Casement and Michael Smith . Neither of those Likely Lads attempted to defend the alleged gallantry of Frank Foley.
Ms Saunders’s speech had been given in the British Museum under the auspices of the London Review of Books.
PERHAPS FOR THE LIKELY LADS, THE IRISH POST, LIKE THE BRITISH MUSEUM, HAD LOST ITS CHARM?