Belfast Telegraph

Nazi survivor's disgust at swastika flags in Northern Ireland

By Una Brankin

A German author who lived through the horrors of World War Two has spoken of her disgust at the flying of Nazi flags in her adopted home town of Carrickfergus.

Former nurse Jutta Tyler (89) was shocked to discover that the provocative banners, featuring swastikas and SS emblems had been erected near a bonfire on the loyalist Glenfield estate in the Co Antrim seaside town.

"It's a very sinister development, in light of the many, many lives taken as a result of the ideology behind those symbols," said Jutta. "I would hate to see those hatreds resurrected after all these years; it is such a retrograde step."

Born and raised in Berlin, Jutta remembers seeing Hitler on the street in her childhood, and innocently joining the female equivalent of the Hitler Youth, with no awareness at the time of the Fuhrer's fascist and racist philosophy.

As a teenager during World War II she experienced the destruction of her native city at first-hand and was forced to flee the advance of the vengeance-bent Red Army.

"My family was separated during the war and I had to go on the run and sleep underground to survive," she recalled, her memory crystal clear. "I remember the original Nazi flags flying over Germany and I do not want to ever see them flying here.

"They are extremely provocative to minorities - and that includes me. I'm German but I was born in a part of Germany that is now part of Poland, and the Polish people I know here, for example, are all kind and hard-working people, who can only be of benefit to this country."

After the war, during the Berlin Airlift, Jutta met her husband, RAF airman Alec Tyler. They married and settled here after Alec's company transferred him to NI. The couple's son Douglas is a social worker.

Now widowed, Jutta lives alone in an apartment near Carrickfergus Castle, and still cycles regularly - despite a recent hip replacement. In 2013 Jutta published her autobiography - Bouncing Back - and a subsequent exclusive interview she gave the Belfast Telegraph was described as "a must-read" on Twitter by former BBC political correspondent Martina Purdy.

"I'm just back from three weeks' holiday in Berlin, which was fantastic, but I am happy to live in Carrickfergus," she said.

"There is so much misery in other parts of the world now, it would be such a pity if bigotry and racism was to spoil life for us here. We don't need this sort of provocation. It is sad, because we have so much to be grateful for."

Bouncing Back by Jutta Tyler can be ordered by calling 028 9332 6163.

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