Work has started on the statue of Major Frank Foley which is due to be placed in a Stourbridge park as a tribute to the spy’s wartime exploits.
Foley was a British spy working undercover in the British Passport Office in pre-war Nazi Berlin. He bent the rules to provide thousands of Jews with the documents they needed to escape Germany.
Dubbed ‘the British Schindler’, he also hid Jews in his own home and went into the Sachsenhausen concentration camp with visas in a bid to help free prisoners.
After retirement, Foley settled in Stourbridge and lived in Eveson Road, Norton, close to Mary Stevens Park until his death in 1958.
Local MP Ian Austin spearheaded a campaign for a permanent tribute to be placed in the borough and persuaded the then chancellor George Osborne to cover the costs.
A Midlands-based artist, Andy de Comyn, was commissioned to create the tribute, which will depict Foley quietly seated on a park bench feeding a bird with a briefcase by his side.
The statue will be placed in the Upper Terrace of the Mary Stevens Park Tea Garden next summer, which means it will be visible from the Topiary Arch and one of the main pedestrian gates.
Dudley North MP Ian Austin said he was “absolutely delighted that work has started” and that “people can learn about him and our country’s role in fighting for freedom, democracy, and tolerance against Nazi Germany.”
Meanwhile, Stourbridge MP Margot James said that “the statue is a fitting tribute to Major Foley’s heroic actions, and I know that people from all around the area will visit and sit with him to reflect and to learn about his life.”