Adolf Mahr was born in 1887 in Austria. He was married to Maria van Bemmelen who was from Holland. Their son Gustav was born in 1922 while they lived in Germany, and also their second child Hilde who was born in 1926; they had two younger daughters also. Ingrid, and Brigit, born in 1929, and 1933, both born in Ireland. Following independence in Ireland in 1922, Irish citizens with a good education had left Ireland for Britain and continental Europe where salaries were higher. The Irish government was forced to advertise abroad for a lot of jobs, mostly in continental Europe as hiring British managers at the time would have been politically unwise. Gustav Mahr believes it was in a Viennese newspaper that his father read the advert for a job in Ireland. Mahr had previously worked in museums in Austria and Germany and had reorganised them. In 1927 the Mahrs moved to Ireland, as Adolf had secured the job of; ’Keeper of Irish antiquities’, at the national museum in Dublin. The Mahr children were encouraged to speak German at home, and make German friends so as not to forget their culture. At that time in Ireland there was a community of German and Austrian citizens of about 250 people, they formed the German association. Nazism
On January 30th, 1933 Hitler was appointed German chancellor. Two months later Adolf Mahr became a member of the Nazi party. His Nazism, like a lot of Germans and Austrians and the time, was probably fuelled by the resentment of the 1919 treaty of Versailles. He also probably had pent up nationalistic feelings about not being able to fight during the Great War due to injury. He had served in the Kaiser’s army in 1906 and during his student days received an arm wound during a sword duel. He was not an extremist in his views, and it was known that he had a friendship with a Jewish man, Albert Bender, from Sanfransico who donated artefacts and art to the museum Mahr ran. The two exchanged letters (but never met) from 1931 until 1939 when the Mahr family returned to Germany. Gustav Mahr gives his view on what could have fuelled his father’s Nazism; “Coming from a nationalistic academic rearing and career in the Habsburg Empire, he was a convinced supporter of the then emerging Third Reich.”
Mahr was raised a Catholic, but he did not practice his religion during adulthood, Maria was a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, neither was that bothered getting the children baptized, but having no religion was enough to be suspected of being Jewish so they were converted to Protestantism. Despite Mahr’s Nazism he was not severely anti-Semitic. He was opposed to ‘International Jewry’, but he didn’t have any problem with individual Jews. A few of his contacts were Jewish, and Hilde’s Jewish friends were welcomed at the house. The Nazi Party in Ireland
In 1934 Mahr formed the Irish branch of the Nazi party called the ’Auslandorganisation’, along with the other Dublin-based Nazis. Their meetings were first held in in a German social club behind the court laundry in Dublin. Another place frequented by the party for meetings was the Kilmacurragh Park Hotel, in Wicklow, and was run by a fellow German, Charles Budina. The German association was now numbering about five hundred people. Mahr became the first, ’Ortensgruppenleiter’, or local group leader. Maria Mahr did not join the Nazi Party. The branch was under the leadership of Otto Bene, who was leader of the British Nazi branch, but in 1935 the Irish branch detached themselves from the British branch so as...