According to The Journal in Ireland, a man from Kilkenny, Larry Brennan, celebrated his 79th birthday with a cake featuring a picture of Adolf Hitler. Here’s Brennan, his daughter, and his Nazi cake as shown on the KCLR 96fm website, a radio station on which he was later interviewed.
Brennan was then dumb enough to go on the radio (KCLR) to talk about his Hitler cake and his feelings about der Führer; you can hear the interview here. It’s summaried on the Journal website as well:
The interview starts with chat about Brennan’s local connections but when asked by Nunn why he had a picture of Hitler on his birthday cake, he replied:“Well, I have great admiration for Hitler’s army, the way he dressed, his immaculate uniforms and his equipment.”
He said that equipment and clothing belonging to the German army during Hitler’s reign were highly sought after by many collectors. “It commands a very high price, unfortunately, today,” he said, pointing out that even English collectors were very interested in these items.
Presenter Nunn suggested that the strongest association most people would have with Hitler was one of “absolute mayhem, the torture and death of millions of people”. Brennan insisted that he himself was “not political”.
This is a transcript of what came next:Brennan: “With politicians, it’s like a race; there’s always somebody trying to get out there, the jockey trying to get out in front to win. To me, politicians are like that, they say, ‘Forget about the truth, make it interesting, that sort of thing. That doesn’t tie with me, honestly, … and I’m afraid I part company with politics in that respect.”Nunn: “But are you saying you admire Hitler, Lar?”Brennan: “I admire Hitler because his army was so disciplined and he had great command over the people, and he fought for the people of his country. He was behind them, like, and they were behind him. It took three nations to beat him, like, and you know, he must have had some power.”Nunn: “And all the people that he burned and…?”Brennan: “Yes, well, that was the sinister thing about him. Behind that as well – and I don’t want to go into politics – but apparently there are two sides to every story and I heard that the other side of the story, the people that he, am, ah, put to death were spoiling the economy of his country by devaluing the deutschmark.”Nunn: “Oh holy God. I can’t even let you say that, Larry, because I think that is just so offensive to people, you know. I mean…”Brennan: “That’s what I heard.”Nunn: “It’s been proven again and again and again and again … And why did the kids get, why did your daughter get the cake for you then, Larry? Was it a surprise?”Brennan: “It was a surprise because she knew I collected all sorts of stuff like that. I collect motorbikes – well, I’m not saying I have masses of motorbikes, I have an interest and have a few motorbikes – and guns, swords, anything that’s old and antique-ish. I’ve a great interest in history, like, you know.”Nunn: “And do you have Hitler memorabilia?”Brennan: “I do, yeah. I have some of the Luftwaffe helmets which is very, very rare. It was the ground force of the Luftwaffe. As you know, the Luftwaffe was the air force, the German air force. They also had a ground command as well and I have one of them in mint condition which is rare to have and I have a very early Nazi dagger, which I treasure. And ah, Hitler didn’t have a lot of memorabilia because it is very, very expensive and very hard to get.”Nunn: “And are you part of a kind of a group of people, are you an enthusiast with others then for Hitler and Hitler memorabilia.”
Brennan: “Well, I have an interest in all kinds of people, an interest not only in Hitler but Irish – Irish are very hard to get hold of, early Irish swords make a lot of money when they come to auction and sometimes it would go beyond my means to bargain. I would like to have them but they are very scarce. I do have a 1798 sword from the Battle of Vinegar Hill and I have contacts of people who collect all sorts of things and if they have something I like, I’ll probably swop.”
Nunn: “And what kind of people are into the Hitler memorabilia.”
Brennan: “Well, like me, they’re into quality, the quality is amazing and ah, they last much longer. They tried to make reproductions but they are nothing like the real thing.”
Well, that’s pretty distressing: “two sides to every story”. Yes, ten million innocent people killed, including six million Jews, and that’s balanced by the devaluation of the Deutschmark! Yes, he collects Nazi memorabilia, too: a gruesome hobby, but not nearly as bad as saying there’s a good side of Nazism that balances its bad. You can read more about Brennan’s statements on the Journal site.
To their credit, many listeners called in and expressed disgust with his sentiments; you can hear their comments here. But what distresses me is a pretty big selection of pro-Hitler comments on the Journal website; reader Grania provided a selection (and these links) below; you can see more written comments here.
In response to this, I’ll post just two pictures—photos I took when I visited Auschwitz. They’re from a room full of suitcases confiscated from Jews who were transported to the camp. They were told to put their names on the suitcases so they could reclaim them after they had their “showers.” They were never reclaimed.
The showers, of course, were fake: the “shower” nozzles were props, and, once everyone was locked in the chambers, vents expelled cyanide gas, killing hundreds of men, women, and children within 20 minutes. While the bodies were burned in crematoria next door, the suitcases were plundered by Sonderkommando inmates who put the good stuff in warehouses to be sent to Germany. There are also rooms full of eyeglasses, children’s toys, shaving brushes, pots, and hair shaved from the women (the hair is the one thing you’re not allowed to photograph).
Every owner of these suitcases was gassed. The names and addresses are poignant, and you can’t help being deeply moved when you read the names. These were people.
And this is what, according to Brennan (and apparently some Irish people), was balanced by Hitler’s devaluation of the Deutschmark.