Albert Folens (1917-2003) was a Belgian-born publisher of educational materials in Ireland. His company, Folens, is a major publisher of educational materials. He was also the author Aiséirí Flóndrais ('The Resurrection of Flanders') a book in Irish discussing the fortunes and rise of Flanders and of the Dutch language vis-à-vis French in Flanders, with references to the situation of the Irish language.
Allegations of Nazi Collaboration
Folens was part of the Flemish Legion which was a nationalist Flemish party fighting for Flemish independence from French-dominated Belgium. During the second world war they were incorporated under the SS. At this point Folens and the captain of the Flemish legion refused to make an oath to Hitler, based on their previous allegiance to the King of Belgium, insisting that the legion would only fight for Flemish independence against the Walloons. Before going into battle, Albert Folens returned to Belgium and worked as a translator. After the Second World War, being named on the CROWCASS list of suspected collaborators, he was sentenced by a Belgian court to 10 years imprisonment. He alleged that he had only worked as a translator. He escaped from jail after 30 months and made his way to Ireland with his wife Juliette.
Hidden History: Ireland's Nazis
A two-part documentary series shown on RTÉ revealed his alleged collaboration with the Third Reich. (The first part was broadcast on RTÉ 1 on 7 January 2007, the second on 16 January). Juliette Folens, his widow, obtained a temporary High Court injunction to prevent the use of a 1987 interview with her husband on an ex parte basis. The interview had been taken twenty years previous, but did not provide information that proved the accusations that he was a member of the Gestapo. Had they been published when Mr. Folens was alive, they would have been considered defamatory. Under Irish law, one cannot defame a person after their death and Mr. Folens was not alive at the time that this documentary was released. Folens family issued a press release denying that Albert Folens was ever involved with Nazi war crimes, though he was a member of the Flemish Legion.
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