The one thing a lot of people may not know about me is my German heritage. I have many relations, both known and unknown, who live in Germany right now. Though the only reason I am alive today is down to the generosity that the Irish people had during and after World War Two. My late Grandmother Ursula was one of the many children that Ireland accepted as Refugees from Germany, as part of the Irish Red Crosses’ Operation Shamrock.
Operation Shamrock, from what I’ve read, was an Irish humanitarian effort to begin bringing German children, many of whom were orphans or had no homes, to Ireland in order to start new lives in a country mostly untouched by the war. The operation first began on the 27th of July in 1946 when 88 children arrived on Irish shores.
Over the next few months, over 500 children had been rescued, of which 50 children stayed in Ireland with their foster families and married Irish natives in due course. My Grandmother was one of those 50 who stayed and married my Grandfather Jack where they eventually had four children, one of them being my Father Paul.
In all of the death and destruction that had taken place during, and even after, the last great war, Ireland showed compassion and grace in taking these children in as refugees and giving them homes and families. Operation Shamrock is the reason why I’m sitting here typing this. It put into motion the events leading up to my birth, having the amazing Father and Mother I have and giving me two of the best Grandparents in the world who sadly passed on much earlier in my life.
So thank you Ireland, for giving hope to the hopeless and life to your future children.
The image below is of The Three Faites, a monument that the German government donated to Ireland in thanks for Operation Shamrock. Image Credits: By Memorino – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17608444. Finally, the featured image is of what many German children would have been going home to, if it wasn’t for Operation Shamrock.