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There is a lot of high feeling and controversy surrounding this period in the Islands’ history. Alderney celebrates ‘Homecoming Day’ on December 15th as an alternative to Guernsey’s Liberation Day celebrations in May, as the Island required a huge amount of clearing and it operated as a communal farm while order was restored. This timeline of the German Occupation of the Channel Islands is an edited and abridged version of that contained in Paul Sanders’ 2005 book The British Channel Islands under German Occupation 1940-1945. You have successfully linked your account! Islands in Danger: Story of the German Occupation of the Channel Islands, 1940-45 by Alan Seaton-Wood: 1945: Jersey Occupied: The German Armed Forces in Jersey 1940-1945 by Michael Ginns: 1945: Jersey Under the Jackboot by R. C. F. Maugham: 1945: The Model Occupation: The Channel Islands Under German Rule 1940-1945 by Madeleine Bunting: 1945 Actors Glen Powell and Lily James in ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’ (2018), which portrayals life in the Channel Islands following the German occupation of WW2. Towards the end of the war, the question wasn’t whether the allies would win, but whether they would die of starvation before the island could be liberated. The Islands of Guernsey are what’s known as an ‘archipelago’ – a collection of islands located on the English Channel between England and France. While there were a few real Nazis – individuals committed to national socialism and Hitler – the majority of Germans on the island were just ordinary soldiers who wanted to go back to their homes and families. Subscribe to latest events View Event Website Events you might be interested in. was deposited at the Jersey Archive in September 2001. The SS Vega, a vessel run by the Red Cross was a lifeline and arrived with a lifesaving cargo in December 1944. German soldiers standing at an intersection in Jersey during the WWII occupation of the Channel Islands. Some children would play pranks on German soldiers, while others were excited by the arrival of alien-like army trucks. Find out in our ‘Everything you need to know about Nazi Germany’ podcast. To this day, the locals are very aware that this idea exists about them. This was the case for both sides – the Germans could be in trouble for forming relationships with the local women­ too. It gives a good overview in different sections from invasion to liberation. The dwindling numbers of islanders present then and alive today have, without exception, vivid memories of the final events of their occupation by German troops. From the Publisher We produce a large number of books about the German Occupation of the Channel Islands and this has been our best seller by far. The Jersey garison alone exceeded 11,500 men. German troops landed on Guernsey on June 30, 1940, on Jersey July 1, on Sark July 3 and on Alderney July 4. The Channel Islands were the only part of the Britain Isles to be occupied by German forces in WW2. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. A sense of freedom, and the reminder of how truly resilient the islanders of Guernsey were, is what underpins the celebratory atmosphere that runs through all of the festivities. Everything you ever wanted to know about... Nazi wives: the women beside Hess, Goebbels, Göring and Himmler. Finally, in 1945, an announcement was given by Prime Minister Winston Churchill: It varied between the islands to some extent. The Jersey Channel Islands Occupation Society's collection of Occupation ephemera, photographs, etc. Little did they know this would be for almost five years. She brought with her food and medical supplies. It was one thing to be polite to someone, but it was a massive taboo to actually be in a relationship with ‘the enemy’. The locals would feel terribly sorry for them, and would offer them food and shelter. They were in a precarious position: if they were discovered and classified as spies, then they could be shot. It was extremely tough, but compared to the German occupation in France or Holland it was a much ‘softer’ occupation. Even so, over twenty civilians died for resistance against the occupiers. This has ensured the long-term preservation and security of the collection whilst being stored in the correct environmental conditions. While there wasn’t a resistance in the militarised sense of the word, there were definitely moments of rebellion – acts of arson and graffiti, for example. In Alderney, virtually all residents were evacuated and this became the most heavily fortified of the Islands. He is also Patron of The Jersey Film Society. All five Islands quickly found themselves under German rule, each serving their own purpose for what became known as ‘Hitler’s Island Madness’ as the Channel Islands became the most fortified place in the world. Just a fortnight earlier Whitehall had ordered the Channel Islands to be demilitarised and had carried out elaborate voluntary evacuation plans. When the tide is right, you can walk over and explore the abundance of flora and fauna, a Benedictine Priory from the 12th century and a crystal clear Venus Pool. The whole book can be found under Resources on the Occupation Memorial website. However please join the islanders for their virtual celebrations: more details at On this day, 30 th June 1940, the German occupation of the Channel Islands (Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, Herm and Sark) began. About The Channel Islands; Latest information on COVID-19 and travel to Jersey & Guernsey ... German Occupation - Fortifications and Military History Share . 5621230. https://www.visitguernsey.com/heritage75. It was used to practise landing from barges in preparation for the invasion of England, under the guise of shooting a propaganda film called ‘The Invasion of the Isle of Wight’. The German Occupation of Guernsey, Channel Islands Visit Guernsey May 8, 2019 The biggest impact on the Islands during the 20th century was when … Although these were just notes written to a child, she was very worried about showing them to me in case I thought she had been a ‘collaborator’. Alderney’s experience of the Occupation was very different to the other Islands, but at just 3 miles long by 1 ½ miles wide, it packs a great deal of history into its modern day visitor offerings with natural trails, military walks, Victorian forts, bunker open days and other annual events and tours. Islanders all had different experiences of the war as some sadly lost their lives and loved ones, while others formed civil relationships and found new ways to live with their enemies. The five-year German occupation came to an end on 16 May 1945 and the first day the islanders were able to return to their island on December 15 is known as Homecoming Day, an event still celebrated in Alderney with an annual Bank Holiday. Read 29 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. This page tells the story of the two Woolworth stores during the period of German occupation. On 8th May 1945, Churchill announced the end of the war in Europe, and the Islands of Guernsey were freed on the following day. (Public domain) After their liberation in 1945, a silence fell over the islands … Some even remember specific acts of kindness from soldiers who wanted to help rather than take control. 68th Liberation Day 2013, The Guernsey Event Company. German armed forces ruled the Channel Islands from June 1940 until May 1945. In Jersey, for example, one physiotherapist hid a Jewish woman in his basement for years while he treated the German soldiers in his consulting room directly above. It is a time to think about how relieved and happy everyone must have felt. A. You're now subscribed to our newsletter. On May 8th 1945, the Allies celebrated the defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler’s Reich, formally recognising the end of the Second World War in Europe…. The Islands politically took on a policy of “passive cooperation.” Fearing a German monopolization of oil, Britain interned German civilians living in Persia in 1941. By entering your details, you are agreeing to HistoryExtra terms and conditions and privacy policy. Many local people saw the Germans as normal men who had found themselves in uniform. The Islands were the only British territory Hitler ever conquered, and locals had most of their lands, belongings, food and freedom taken away. A large number of these people were Russians who were treated particularly badly by the Nazis, who viewed them as “Untermenschen” (sub-human). With Saskia Reeves, Owen Teale, Julia Ford, Clare Holman. Yes, the title of the film is not an exaggeration – potato peel pie really was a dish that people were eating at the time. The official website for BBC History Magazine, BBC History Revealed and BBC World Histories Magazine, Save over 50% on a BBC History Magazine or BBC History Revealed gift subscription, Occupied by the Germans between 1940 and 1945, the Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to have been seized by the Nazi regime. The mounting pressure on food and ration supplies resulted in the early release of prisoners, but the situation was becoming critical. 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