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The Breton Collaborators and the Welsh Llenorion

From Planet 216

Rob Stradling on a controversial legacy to the National Library of Wales from a former SS member from Brittany. How close were Breton collaborators to Welsh Nationalists?

For a few weeks in 2011, a recently-deceased member of Hitler’s SS was at the centre of a freak storm of controversy between the National Library of Wales (NLW) and the Welsh Government. Louis Feutren joined the SS on the orders of Célestin Lainé, head of the Breton Nationalists’ armed unit, Bezen Perrot. In the chaos of 1945, both men avoided the vengeance of Free French, Soviet-serving ‘maquis’ and the western Allies. They escaped not (like many German comrades) to some exotic South American haven, but to the Irish Free State. Leader and follower lived long and prospered in their adoptive homeland. Despite this, on his death Feutren opted to leave his £300,000 fortune to Wales rather than Ireland. No explanation was forthcoming of his reasons for so doing. His only condition was that the Welsh National Library should also ‘adopt’ his private archive.1 The latter (we may presume) will ultimately provide the key to the former. ‘Ultimately’ is a long time in the world of archives. In the hope of offering a little satisfaction to the properly curious Planeteer, the present essay offers some assorted morsels of historical fact and informed conjecture.



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