My good friend and colleague for two and a half years in Vilnius, Dónal Denham, has written a book with the title Nine Lives: The Reflections of a Dedicated Diplomat. The book is an interesting, fascinating read about an eventful career in the service of Ireland at home and abroad, enriched by an excellent selection of photos that add life and substance to the text. The author also draws a vivid picture of his early formative years in Ireland and England and student years at Trinity College. He writes warmly about his family, not avoiding the pain of personal losses, exacerbated by separation and distance. Diplomats from all countries would subscribe to his tribute to his wife Siobhan (“without whom nothing worthwhile would have happened to me”) who “as an unpaid ‘trailing spouse’ was a treasure beyond measure, largely unrecognized by officialdom.”
So, which are Dónal Denham’s nine diplomatic lives?
Nearly a decade after HE Dónal Denham’s 3 June 2008 historic reception for Fania Brantsovsky, a hero of the Holocaust-era anti-Nazi Jewish partisan resistance in Lithuania, held at the Irish Ambassador’s Residence in Vinius, the text of his speech has been released. It appears below. See our report on the June 2008 event. Historical note: Defending History believes it was the first time since collapse of the Soviet Union that Western embassies in one of the new democracies saw a need to honor a person who was being unjustly targeted by state prosecution services and other national elites. The American, Austrian, British, French, German, Norwegian and other embassies followed the Irish lead.
The Embassy of Ireland in Lithuania issued a certificate of lifetime achievement to Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, signed by HE Ambassador Dónal Denham, who presented the award at a reception today at the ambassador’s residence. Ambassador Denham’s speech concluded with the words: ‘Fania is one brave woman! You are a beautiful person, a special person, an inspiration to us all.’
Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Ambassador Dónal Denham, EU, Events, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Fania Brancovskaja), Human Rights, Ireland, It Pays to Defend History: Success Over the Years..., Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Prof. David E. Fishman's Lithuanian Adventures, Vilnius Yiddish Institute