Why Irish soldiers who fought against Hitler and the Nazis had to hide their medals
After deserting the Irish army to fight with the British, many soldiers faced persecution
However, Stout also says that at the time, Ireland had only recently broken away from Britain, and resentment was still strong. "They didn't understand why we did what we did. A lot of Irish people wanted Germany to win the war - they were dead up against the British."
Professor of history at Trinity College, Gerald Morgan, says that to prevent civil unrest, Eamon de Valera was forced to draw up the lists preventing the soldiers from attaining work upon return.
The lists, however, are now regarded as widely inaccurate. "It contains the names of men who were to be punished but who'd already been killed in action, but not the names of men who deserted the Irish army to spend their war years as burglars or thieves," said Robert Widders, author of ‘Spitting on a Soldier’s Grace,’ a book about the deserters' treatment.
Recently, members of the Dail have been looking to provide pardons for those who are still alive and on the list. "What happened to them was vindictive and not only a stain on their honor but on the honor of Ireland," TD Gerald Nash said.
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