Luftwaffe dagger gets Paul into national treasures book

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Paul Heffernan with his World War Two German air corps dagger.

A COUNTY Limerick man is one of the featured contributors in the National Treasures Book, which is the latest instalment of a nationwide project that captured the public imagination when it was broadcast on RTE television earlier this year.

Paul Heffernan from Kilfinane brought along a Luftwaffe officer’s dagger to a National Treasures Roadshow in Cork and he is now one of a select few individuals to be featured in the publication which is sure to be a top seller around the country this Christmas.

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The object tells the story of Paul’s grandfather’s time fighting in World War II.

The dagger, that he took from a German officer, who was killed, keeps Paul connected to his grandfather.

My grandfather fought in World War II and somehow survived the entire war. As a child, I always asked him about the war, but understandably he didn’t like to talk about it. He did, however, write letters detailing his time in the war and when he died, he left me this dagger, which he took from a German officer who was killed.

“My grandfather died a number of years ago at the age of 90, but this dagger keeps me connected to him. Every time I look at it, I think of him and the great man he was,” Paul explains.

The National Treasures project was a campaign to collect objects cherished by people and families that explore the history of the island of Ireland over the past 100 years. The aim was to gather objects, passed down through generations or relatively recently acquired, which revealed an aspect of Ireland’s history, culture and experience.

Since then, the project has transformed from a website to nationwide roadshow events, a television series, an exhibition and now a book containing some of the amazing objects and stories uncovered.

EZ Films produced the National Treasures project for RTÉ in association with the National Museum of Ireland and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. The book is available in bookshops and online at www.nationaltreasures.ie/shop