World War II: the Templeogue connection

In 1940, no 245 Templeogue Road, a house named “Konstanz” was occupied by Mr. Stephen Carroll Held, the adopted son of a German, Michael Held. Michael Held had emigrated to Ireland in 1890 and married an Irishwoman. Stephen Held worked at the firm of Michael Held and Sons Ltd who operated as sheet metal workers at 72 Francis Street.

Stephen Held's home, Konstanz, on the Templeogue Road
Stephen Held’s home, Konstanz, on the Templeogue Road

In April 1940, Stephen Held travelled  to Germany as an agent for the IRA. A month later a German officer, Dr. Hermann Goertz, arrived in Ireland by parachute, and having made contact with the IRA was placed for safety in Mr. Held’s house. Of his stay in Templeogue, Goertz later wrote, “I was treated with true Irish hospitality”. He met with Stephen Hayes, Chief of Staff of the IRA while staying at Konstanz.

He was there for only a few weeks when, on 22 May, the house was raided by detectives. Goertz escaped through the back gardens and got away on foot. He was eventually rounded up the following year and interned for the remainder of the war. In September 1946 all the German internees were released, but were re-arrested in April 1947, for the purpose of deporting them to Germany. On May 23, when the final arrangements were made, Hermann Goertz took his own life by swallowing potassium cyanide. He was buried in Deansgrange cemetery, his coffin draped withthe swastika flag. His remains were later moved to the German Cemetery at Glencree.

Stephen Held was arrested at his home on the night of the police raid. He was tried and sentenced to five years in prison. At the trial, the court was told of the discovery in his house of 20,000 American dollars, a wireless transmitter, a German military cap and badges and documents giving details of Irish harbours and bridges and distribution of the Defence Forces. Held was released from prison in 1946. In the 1960s he left Ireland for the United States.

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