The extraordinary life story of a Nazi officer who fled to Ireland where he worked as a teacher after being sentenced to death for war crimes can be revealed for the first time.
The French-born traitor accused of slaughtering Jews and resistance fighters eventually settled in Dublin where he spent more than 30 years as an apparently respectable teacher at a prestigious private school.
The Nazi – ironically known to his Waffen SS handlers as ‘The Master’ – is now at the centre of controversy after former pupils at St Conleth’s College demanded an apology from the school for allowing Feutren to evade justice by offering him a safe haven.
It’s alleged children were subjected to decades of abuse at the hands of the war criminal with a taste for brutal punishments and bizarre humiliations.
They included violent tantrums which ended with pupils being hurled across the classroom and having lit Gauloises cigarettes flicked in their faces.
Teacher Louis Feutren flicked cigarettes at pupils who were later shocked to learn he was a Nazi
Feutren – ironically known to his Waffen SS handlers as ‘The Master’ – is now at the centre of controversy after former pupils at St Conleth’s College demanded an apology from the school for allowing Feutren to evade justice by offering him a safe haven
Former students claimed Feutren forced rulers into their mouths to make them pronounce vowels properly and made them strip off every item of clothes that they could not recall the correct name for in French.
The victims he terrorised said complaints to the headmaster were met with laughter and warnings that as a convicted Nazi, the French teacher was not a man to be messed with.
Brazen Feutren is said to have boasted of his wartime exploits showing pictures of himself in SS uniform in the classroom and describing details of his life on the run after the Allied liberation of France in 1944.
Now MailOnline can reveal for the first time how Feutren was able to escape punishment for his wartime atrocities and hide ‘in plain sight’ before his death aged 87 in November 2009.
Much of the testimony comes from Feutren himself from beyond the grave.
Far from being unrepentant, the Nazi bequeathed in his will his personal records to the National Library of Wales along with a cash sum of around £300,000.
This is when Feutren and other members of his ‘Bretonischer Waffenverband der SS’ had fled from liberated France to Germany, where Hitler was still in power.
Feutren became interested in Celtic mysticism and the links between the ‘true Celtic people’ of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and the Isle of Man along with those of his native Brittany
The archive, containing a massive collection of tapes, documents, letters and photographs packed into six boxes, has been collecting dust in a locked vault at the building in Aberystwyth.
One chilling black and white photograph among 300 in the collection shows Feutren and a fellow collaborator in their Nazi uniforms.
Detailed examination of the collection shows Feutren as a vain man who was proud of his war record.
While glossing over his teaching career, the dossier records his time collaborating with the SS during the Second World War – ensuring his legacy would be preserved forever.
Feutren was born in 1922 in a Breton-speaking village on the northern coast of France.
As a young man he became interested in Celtic mysticism and the links between the ‘true Celtic people’ of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and the Isle of Man along with those of his native Brittany.
It proved to be a connection he was able to repeatedly exploit over the years to avoid capture.
The Nazi bequeathed in his will his personal records to the National Library of Wales along with a cash sum of around £300,000
Feutren became a member of the SS Armed Formation with the junior officer rank of Oberscharführer
Feutren joined the separatist Breton National Party in his final year of school aged 18 but told how he did not feel at home in ‘the world of meetings and propaganda’.
Shortly after enrolling as a university student in Rennes he joined the Breton party’s paramilitary branch – the Bezen Perrot.
In a synopsis entitled ‘This is my life’, which was type-written on a single page, Feutren said: ‘It was a logical step when in autumn ’43 we joined the Germans to fight the French as a Breton unit.
‘The agreement was to fight the French power in Brittany and the Germans promised not to engage us in any action outside our country. They kept their word.’
Feutren became a member of the SS Armed Formation with the junior officer rank of Oberscharführer.
The unit hunted down Jews and French resistance fighters who were put to death or sent to concentration camps.
The group was later accused of taking part in massacres after Adolf Hitler ordered the liquidation of partizans following the Normandy landings.
Feutren became a member of the SS Armed Formation with the junior officer rank of Oberscharführer
His unit hunted down Jews and French resistance fighters who were put to death or sent to concentration camps
Feutren told how two weeks before the end of the war, with the Allies just hours away, members of the unit discarded their uniforms and headed to a meeting place in Germany where they found work on farms.
He wrote: ‘I hoboed around Germany seeing desolation everywhere. It was the most important year of my life.’
In Germany, members of the unit were given fake identities by Leo Weisgerber – a specialist in Celtic linguisitics who worked with Nazi organisations to encourage insurrection during the war.
Feutren told how he was in Paris in 1946 when he was sentenced to death in his absence for war crimes.
Feutren added: ‘I went to Paris and stayed low since I was a wanted man. Life on the run in Paris was a hard and lonely time.’
He escaped to the UK using his false papers and was harboured in Wales.
He said: ‘The welcome generosity and help of the Welsh nationalists was a wonderful relief.’
Using an unknown alias he headed to Ireland in the winter of 1947 joining the SS unit’s leader Celestin Laine and fellow officer Alan Heusaff, who had both also been sentenced to death in their absence.
The following summer, Feutren enrolled as a student at the University College of Galway while working as a part-time photographer.
In 1951 he took a job teaching German at a prominent school in Belfast before returning to Dublin two years later to finish his Master of Arts degree.
According to his own account, in April 1954 he joined the staff at St Conleth’s, a school for ‘sons of Catholic gentlemen’ in the affluent Dublin suburb of Ballsbridge run by former international rugby referee Kevin Kelleher.
The following year, Feutren was awarded Irish citizenship after earlier being granted refugee status by the Irish government.
His new passport enabled him to return to Brittany for the first time with his future wife Maura Martin.
Feutren’s personal records contain love letters written to Maura signed Michel – a false name he is believed to have used while on the run.
Describing the trip back home with his fiancee, Feutren wrote in his account of his life: ‘I don’t think she enjoyed the visit, convinced that every gendarme she saw was going to recognise me.’
‘The following year we got married.’
The documents – written in English, French, German as well as Breton and other Celtic languages – show Feutren remained lifelong friends with Laine and Heusaff.
The collaborators were pictured in 1966 with a fourth unknown man holding a wreath at the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin, describing the insurrection as an ‘inspiration’ to Breton separatists.
Feutren retired in 1985 and settled down to an anonymous life enjoying the simple pleasures of ‘waking up in the sunshine surrounded by beautiful hills, friends dropping in, intelligent conversation’.
After his death at home in Dublin his ashes were returned to Brittany.
There was a storm of protest when the National Library of Wales accepted Feutren’s bequest saying the collection included ‘material of significant historical importance’.
In France, a bequest of £43,000 to the University of Brittany to help promote the Breton language was turned down because of Feutren;s background with the Waffen SS.
It is only now, 14 years after his death, that Feutren is being held to account by the former pupils he tormented.
His principle accuser Uki Goni, who studied at St Conleth’s in the 1970s, is leading a campaign to get the school to apologise for the bullying French master’s actions.
Describing Feutren as a ‘monster’, Mr Goni – whose father was the former Argentinian ambassador to Ireland – said the Frenchman ‘was a boastful, unrepentant and proud former officer in the most evil and tyrannical organisation of the 20th Century, the Nazi SS’.
He said he had been ‘physically bashed’ by Feutren but added: ‘Upon complaining, our headmaster Keven Kelleher laughed it off pointing out that Feutren was a convicted Nazi so I should better behave myself going forwards.’
Mark Collins, who studied at St Conleth’s in the 1980s, said there was a culture of physical punishment at the school, despite corporal punishment having been abolished in 1982.
He told how he was once left humiliated in the classroom dressed in his t-shirt and underwear after being picked out by Feutren.
He said: ‘When I was aged 13, he told me to stand in front of a class of 40-plus boys and to remove every item of clothing I couldn’t name in French.’
Mr Collins – whose Jewish grandmother hid from Nazis in her native Hungary during the war – said Feutren spoke with pride of his wartime service.
Another former pupil, Kieran Owens, said: ‘No one would consider crossing Mr Freuten. He was a volcano ready to erupt at any moment.
‘If there was any sort of transgression he would be very, very, very swift and violent. I witnessed him bashing a guy; the guy flew across the room.’
In a statement St Conleth’s College said: ‘The school has always been aware that Mr Feutren was an ardent Breton nationalist but was most shocked and concerned to learn of the research that may have implicated him in the possible carrying out of atrocities.
‘It was only after the death of Mr Feutren that the school became aware of these allegations.’
It added that conduct set out by Mr Goni should not be ‘overlooked or forgotten’.
The statement added: ‘The board accepts that such conduct (as described) has no place at St Conleth’s College, whether that be in the past, present or future.
‘The board has expressed the school’s profound regret for any conduct by Mr Feutren (and any other person employed by the school) which failed to meet the standards of conduct and education which we have espoused since the school’s foundation.’