THE IRISH RED Cross last week held their very own Gathering event.
However, rather than reach out to the diaspora, the charity put a call to one-time visitors to our shores. These visitors were World War II refugees who had come to Ireland in 1946 from Germany, France and Austria, as part of a Red Cross initiative known as “Operation Shamrock”.
The group were reunited on Saturday at the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation as part of the Gathering 2013.
The former refugees were joined by more than 300 guests from Germany, Ireland, Wales and the USA, including the foster families who gave homes to the children over 60 years ago, their own children and grand-children.
Speaking at the event, Agnes Thevis, one of the 21 children, told of the difficulties faced in Germany.
Agnes came to Ireland with her brother, they were fostered together by a family in Dundalk, “we were raised liked we were their own, I have very happy memories of Ireland.”
Theodore Edward Kavanagh was separated from his brother Tony and brought to Ireland from an orphanage in Germany.
I thought he would arrive after me but he never came. I never knew what happened to him until sixty years later when we finally found him in Germany.
Despite not being able to speak one another’s language, the brothers attended Saturday’s Gathering event together, sitting side by side with huge smiles on their faces.
All pictures: The Irish Red Cross