Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. A recent release of documents of actions and beliefs of British citizens during World War II amply illustrates both the achievement by some of greatness and the strong pro-Nazi partisanship, bitterness, and even villainy of others who were born great, at the pinnacle of the elitist British society.
It is a pleasure to recall heroic achievement. On September18, 2018, a statue was unveiled by Prince William, duke of Cambridge, of Major Frank Foley in the West Midlands city of Stourbridge where he had retired. This was a tribute to a courageous man, son of a railroad worker, Catholic-educated and deeply religious, a man seriously injured during World War I. Foley was passport control officer at the British embassy in Berlin, in reality the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) station from where he recruited agents and acquired information about German military research.
After Kristallnacht, Foley risked his own life to save at least 10,000 Jews from death by the Nazis, even going into Nazi internment camps to get Jews out, hiding some in his own home, and getting them forged passports. He was honored as a British Hero of the Holocaust in 2010, and as a Righteous Gentile by Yad Vashem in Israel in 1999. Foley is sometimes referred to as the “British Schindler,” but Foley saved more Jews than the latter’s 1,200. In the future, it might be more appropriate to refer to Schindler as the “German Foley.”
Foley’s noble story is told in a new book, Agent Jack by Robert Hutton, which also reveals startling accounts of the more ignoble life of those “born great” in Britain before and during World War II. It exposes those well placed and wealthy aristocrats who were sympathetic to the Nazi cause, appeasers of Hitler and anti-Semites, and a number of anti-Semitic groups during the 1930s and after, such as the Liberty Restoration League; the Imperial Fascist League, led by Arnold Leese; the Link, led by Admiral Barry Domvile, whose motto was “Perish Judah”; and Patriotic Societies.