Aggie's Heritage Room

This Heritage Room at Castle Leslie is named after Agnes Bernelle (Agi to her friends), Desmond Leslie's first wife. She was also a war-time secret agent, cabaret legend, actress, and Ireland's oldest punk. Born in Weimar Berlin, Agnes was brought up in a privileged theatrical milieu. Her father was Rudolf Bernauer, a Jewish Hungarian theatre impresario and satirical songwriter. Agnes's family fled to London in 1936 prior to the outbreak of World War II.

Aggie's Heritage Room at Castle Leslie

A penniless refugee, Agnes was recruited by the American OSS (the forerunner of the CIA) to become a seductive presenter named ‘Vicky’ on ‘black propaganda’ radio stations. Her virulent outbursts were designed to demoralise and undermine German confidence. On one memorable occasion, a German submarine commander whose vessel had been lying undetected off the coast of Scotland had surfaced and surrendered without a fight. When he was interrogated about this he claimed that it was ‘Vicky’s’ programme that had made him do so – Agnes had congratulated the commander on air on his wife having given birth to twin boys. Unfortunately, the commander had not had any home leave in over two years!

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