The 1947 funeral of ‘Nazi master spy’ Hermann Goertz at Deansgrange Cemetery, Dublin has been discussed quite a bit recently. The Irish Times as part of their ‘From the archives’ column reprinted the paper’s original article on the funeral back in May and the incident was also included in Shane MacThomas’ new book Dead Interesting which features stories from Dublin’s graveyards.
Much has been made of the major role that women played at the funeral. The Irish Times reported that it was women who wore “most” of the Swastika badges in the crowd, that it was a woman who placed a large swastika flag on the coffin and it was also a woman who whispered ‘Heil, Hitler’ and gave a Nazi salute just after the burial. The paper also noted cards on wreaths announced they were from “Maisie”, “Mary” and “My dearest friend – from Bridie”.
There can be no doubt that the “Mary” and “Bridie” were the Farrell Sisters from Glenegeary whom Goertz lived with up to his suicide.
Spinster sisters Mary and Bride (aka Brigid or Bridie) Farrell (sometimes misspelled as O’Farrell) lived at 7 Spencer Villas in Glenageary, South Dublin. It was this address that Goertz gave when he was in the High Court in April 1947 fighting his deportation order.
Like the other women, such as Caitlín Brugha, Iseult Gonne, Mary Coffey, Helena Molony, Maise O’Mahony (another name on a wreath), who helped Goertz it can be accepted that the Farrell sisters held anti-British and pro-Irish Republican sympathies.
Bride, who was the youngest daughter of Sylvester and Maria Farrell, died on May 11 1966 at St Michael’s Hospital. It is not known when her only sister Mary passed away.
In 1974, under the cover of darkness, a group of German ex-army officers exhumed Goertz’s remians and re-interned them in the German War Cemetery in Glencree, Co. Wicklow where they remain to this day.