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Boehm/Casement Papers

Abstract: This collection consists largely of letters from Roger Casement to Captain Hans Boehm, during Casement's stay in Germany in 1915, as well as some associated material (photographs, medals) relating to his first contact with the German authorities in November and December 1914 and the formation of the Irish Brigade in 1915.

In collection Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive (IVLRA)

  1. Handwritten statement by Mansfeldt de Cardonnel Findlay, H.B.M. Minister, British Legation at Christiania, Norway promising to pay Adler Christensen the sum of £5,000 for the provision of information that would lead to the capture of Roger Casement.
  2. Typescript copy of the secret agreement made by Roger Casement with the German Foreign Office, concerning the formation of a brigade from Irish prisoners of war.
  3. Formation of an Irish Brigade in Germany ; Manifesto of A Company of the Irish Brigade Handwritten summary by Roger Casement of the agreement with Germany; and manifesto of the Irish Brigade, handwritten by Roger Casement and copies printed by Limburger Vereinsdruckerei.
  4. Letter from Roger Casement, Frankfurt to Captain Hans Boehm, consisting mainly of the German Government's declaration of good will in relation to any possible invasion of Ireland.
  5. Letter from Roger Casement, Berlin to Captain Hans Boehm, expressing concern about the formation of the Irish Brigade.
  6. Letter from Roger Casement, Berlin to Captain Hans Boehm, referring to the possibility of Boehm going to the camp at Limburg in person.
  7. Letters from Roger Casement, Berlin to Captain Hans Boehm, referring to Irish corporals at the Limburg camp willing to form the Irish Brigade under certain conditions; they include a transcription of a letter by Joe McGarrity on Irish pro-German events in Philadelphia, USA.
  8. Letter from Roger Casement, Berlin to Captain Hans Boehm, expressing his disappointment at the delays in the formation of the Irish Brigade.
  9. Letter from Roger Casement to Captain Hans Boehm, saying that he is still without news.
  10. Letter from Roger Casement (U.S. Consulate General, Munich) to Captain Hans Boehm, referring to enclosed letters from the three corporals at the Limburg camp.
  11. Letter from Roger Casement (U.S. Consulate General, Munich) to Captain Hans Boehm, thanking him for his letter and for news of a messenger going to Ireland.
  12. Letter from Roger Casement (U.S. Consulate General, Munich) to Captain Hans Boehm, referring to his decision to go to Berlin and visit the camp at Zossen.
  13. Letter from Roger Casement (Hotel Baselerhof, Prannerstrasse 11, Munich) to Mrs. Boehm, thanking her for the cards and cuttings she sent him.
  14. Letter from Roger Casement, Zossen to Mrs. Boehm, thanking her for her card and the news of her husband's safe arrival.
  15. Postcards of Limburg and a photograph of the prison camp.
  16. Photograph of Hans Boehm in day clothes.
  17. Photograph of Hans Boehm in evening dress.
  18. Photograph of Roger Casement.
  19. Set of two commemorative bronze medals depicting Roger Casement and allegories of Irish independence / by B.H. Meyer of Pforzheim.
Date
Date created:
Type of resource
text
still image
three dimensional object
Physical description
19 items
Scope and Content
The Boehm/Casement Papers consist largely of letters from Roger Casement to Captain Hans Boehm, during Casement's stay in Germany in 1915, as well as some associated material (photographs, medals) relating to his first contact with the German authorities in November and December 1914 and the formation of the Irish Brigade in 1915.
Note
The collection is quite small and covers only a short period of Casement's life. However, it illustrates very well his feelings during this period, the knowledge and acceptance of the fact that he was committing treason; as well as his increasing disillusionment with the project and the German authorities. There is also some interesting material on the brigade such as the manifesto of A Company [P127/3] and the collection is notable for possibly containing the original of the Findlay letter [P127/1].
Provenance
Karl Boehm-Tettelbach
Acquisition Information
This collection was deposited in UCD Archives in April 1995 by Karl Boehm-Tettelbach of Köln, Germany.
Processing Information
Listed and introduced by Caroline Brown, December 1995. Minor revisions by IVRLA project staff, 2008.
Biographical History
Roger Casement was born on 1 September 1864 in Sandycove, County Dublin, but moved in 1873, after the deaths of his parents, to live in County Antrim. His first employment was with a Liverpool based shipping line, but he soon became disillusioned with this and joined a group of volunteers working with Henry Stanley in the Congo in 1884. He later joined the British Foreign Service and in 1895 was appointed consul of Lourenco Marques in Portugese East Africa; then spent several years working in Africa and Putamayo, South America, earning a reputation for exposing the poor conditions under which the indigenous population was forced to work.
Note
He was knighted in 1911, and returning to Ireland in 1913, he retired and became involved in Irish nationalism. In November 1913 he joined the Provisional Committee of the Irish Volunteers, actively recruited for the organisation and became convinced of the need for it to be armed. He was heavily involved in raising funds for this in Ireland and London and on 2 July 1914 he left for America to raise support among Irish Americans.
Note
The outbreak of the First World War caused Casement to rethink his plans. His sympathies were with Germany and he was convinced that England's aim was to extend her empire rather than to help small nations such as Belgium. John Devoy's opinion was that supporters of Clan na Gael in Ireland were prepared to raise a rebellion but lacked arms and trained officers. Casement became convinced that, if Germany were to aid the rebels, it would be to their mutual advantage in diverting British troops from the continent to Ireland. After an encouraging meeting with Franz von Papen, the German military attaché in Washington, at which they discussed the possibility of Irish prisoners of war being persuaded to change allegiance, Casement decided to sail for Germany on 14 October 1914.
Note
His route took him and his companion, Adler Christensen, a young Norwegian Casement had met in New York, via Christiania (now Oslo), Norway, where began a series of attempts by the British to use Christensen to capture Casement. This culminated in a written promise by Mansfeldt de Findlay to pay Christensen £5,000 in the event of Casement being captured as a result of information given by him [P127/1].
Note
Casement's first two months in Germany were promising and led to an official German declaration of support for the Irish cause [P127/4], as well as a secret agreement concerning the aims of an Irish Brigade [P128/2]. Captured Irish troops in Germany were moved to a special camp at Limburg, near Frankfurt, for the purpose of forming them into a brigade, with the ultimate aim of landing them in Ireland with German assistance. The papers show that Casement was well aware of the treasonable nature and possible consequences of his actions [P127/5]. However, attempts to recruit men to the brigade were largely unsuccessful and Casement became increasingly depressed and physically ill. His letters to Captain Hans Boehm [P127/5-9] show his frustration at what he saw as inactivity by the Germans who refused to publish the secret treaty until 200 men had been recruited.
Note
Eventually about 60 men were moved to another camp at Zossen, near Berlin, and a brigade was formed. The papers show that Casement continued to encounter problems; show how dispirited he had become and how he felt he had been abandoned by friends in America [P127/13].
Note
Captain Hans Boehm was assigned by the German High Command to assist Casement while he was in Germany. Casement spoke no German and needed a translator and it was felt that Boehm, who was married to an American and had several Irish friends, would be suitable. The two met in Berlin at the end of February 1915 when Casement was still in the process of trying to form the brigade from the men at Limburg. The papers show how much, from this point, Casement came to rely on Boehm to help form the brigade [P127/6-8]. They continued to meet and correspond until Boehm was sent away (possibly to America) in September 1915 [P127/11, 14-16]. It is possible that Boehm was also used by the German authorities to deal with separatist groups in Italy. Early in 1917 he was arrested in British waters off Falmouth and interned.
Note
The letters in the collection continue until December 1915. Casement was very ill during the Spring of 1916 and when he heard of the proposed Easter Rising he decided to go to Ireland with only two brigade members, Robert Monteith and David Bailey. They landed at Tralee Bay, County Kerry on 21 April 1916 where Casement was arrested. He was taken to London, tried, found guilty of treason and executed on 3 August 1916.
Related Material
The collection is complemented by P128 [not scanned by IVRLA, as of September 2008], a collection of papers concerning Casement during the same period, written by Michael McKeogh, one of the members of the Irish Brigade.
Languages
English  German  
Arrangement of the Collection
The items have been arranged in rough chronological order. They are subdivided into four series, A-D, corresponding to three different 'phases' of Casement's mission in Germany, with the last series consisting of photographs and medals.
Genre
Correspondence
Subject
Casement, Roger, Sir, 1864-1916 --Correspondence
Boehm, Hans, Mrs. --Correspondence   linked data (lcsh)
World War, 1914-1918--Germany   linked data (lcsh)
World War, 1914-1918--Detention facilities--German--Limburg an der Lahn (Germany)
World War, 1914-1918--Prisoners and prisons, Irish   linked data (lcsh)
Ireland--History--Easter Rising, 1916--Causes   linked data (lcsh)
Germany--Foreign relations--Ireland   linked data (lcsh)
Ireland--Foreign relations--Germany   linked data (lcsh)
Location
UCD School of History and Archives. UCD Archives. Boehm/Casement Papers
Bibliography
Roger Casement, Germany and the world war : From British imperial consul to Irish republican envoy
Bibliography
Roger Casement, Germany and the world war : From British imperial consul to Irish republican envoy

Record source
Metadata creation date: 1995-12 — Prepared by IVRLA project staff, UCD Library, University College Dublin. Finding aid encoded in EAD by the Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive (IVRLA) - C.S., 9 September 2008.

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