The compelling experiences of many of the 2,000 Irish people, ranging from bohemian writers and artists to governesses, nuns and priests, who were trapped in occupied France during the Second World War.
The experiences of the Irish in France during the war were overshadowed by the threat of internment or destitution. Up to 2,000 Irish people were stuck in occupied France after the defeat by Nazi Germany in June 1940. This population consisted largely of governesses and members of religious orders, but also the likes of Samuel Beckett, as well as a few individuals who managed to find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up in internment camps (or worse). The book examines the engagement of the Irish in various forms of resistance. It also reveals that the attitude of some of the Irish towards the German occupiers was not always as clear-cut as politically correct discourse would like to suggest.There are fascinating revelations, most notably that Ireland's diplomatic representative in Paris sold quantities of wine to Hermann Goring; that Irish passports were given out very liberally (including to a convicted British rapist); that, in the early part of the war, some Irish ended up in internment camps in France and, through the slowness of the Irish authorities to intervene, were subsequently sent to concentration camps in Germany; and that a couple of Irish people faced criminal proceedings in France after the Liberation because of their wartime dealings with the Germans.
Isadore Ryan is a financial journalist and editor, resident in Paris for over 20 years. He studied languages in Trinity College, Dublin and completed a Master's Degree in War Studies at the University of London.