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Channel Islands during World War II

British Channel Islands during the Nazi occupation in World War II.
Latest hand-picked WWII news.

WWII letters from German soldiers stationed in Nazi-occupied Jersey delivered 71 years late
Christmas messages written by German soldiers stationed in Jersey during the Second World War have been delivered 71 years late. In 1941, mail was stolen from an army post office in St Helier by a group of teenagers as an act of defiance against the occupying Nazi forces. Recently, farmer Engelbert Bergmann, 55, from Frankfurt, received a letter written by soldier Emil Adam, a neighbour of his grandfather. The letters were hidden in for 66 years before they were brought to the Jersey Archive five years ago by a man who wants to remain anonymous. So far 10 of the 90 letters have been delivered.
(bbc.co.uk)

1,500 Guernsey newspapers from Nazi-occupation period to be sold at auction
Up to 1,500 Guernsey newspapers published during the Nazi occupation of World War II are to be sold at auction. The editions of The Star and The Guernsey Press date from July, 1940 to May, 1945 and have been put up for sale by Margaret Blick, who said her late husband had them when they married, but she was unsure how he got hold of them.
(bbc.co.uk)

Replica of German Sturmgeschutz III assault gun toured Jersey streets as it made its way to the Jersey War Tunnels
A replica WWII German tank was on the streets of Jersey as it made its way to a new home. The tank was commissioned by the Jersey War Tunnels museum, in St Peter. The 16-tonne Sturmgeschütz III Ausf. G tank - created from the shell of a British Army tank - has been recreated to the smallest detail. Hohlgangsanlage 8, known as the German Underground Hospital or more recently the Jersey War Tunnels, was an underground complex built for the German occupying forces. It includes more than 1km of tunnels and was turned into an occupation museum a year after the island was liberated.
(bbc.co.uk)

Several German World War II mines found at Pembroke Bay, Guernsey
Swimmers at Pembroke Bay have been advised to take care, after an unsuccessful attempt to detonate two WWII German mines there. One anti-tank device was discovered by a dog walker and destroyed by Guernsey Police officers. During that operation two further anti-tank mines were found. An attempt to remove them at low tide was unsuccessful and officers are due to try again next week. A spokesman for the bomb disposal team said: "This beach was heavily mined to prevent an Allied invasion and in the bad weather some of the mines used to fall off the barricades into the sea. The Germans weren`t particularly good at retrieving the old ordnance, they just strapped more mines to the barricade."
(bbc.co.uk)

Flooded WWII German bunker reopened by a Guernsey historical group (includes video)
A German bunker which had remained closed since World War II has been opened by a Guernsey historical group. Festung Guernsey pumped the water out of the concrete structure at Vazon Bay before installing lights inside. It was among the equipment left from the occupation of the island by German forces from June 1940 to May 1945. Paul Bourgaize said the finds would be put on display: "We have an identical bunker to this at L`Eree that we`re hoping to use for tours, it`s open now but come the summer we`ll be getting a lot of visitors and the aim is to try to equip it with as many original items as possible."
(bbc.co.uk)

Guernsey evacuees invited to submit stories and photos for book
Guernsey residents who were evacuated from the island during WWII have been invited to provide their stories and photos for a new book. Historian Gillian Mawson has been commissioned to write the book by publisher, The History Press. She now faces the challenge of condensing three years of research into 50,000 words. Mawson said the book would be aimed at UK readers who knew little about the experiences of Guernsey`s evacuees. She said she would be "giving them the background as to why the evacuation took place, where people went to and then the conditions that they lived under".
(bbc.co.uk)

Alderney - the most northerly of the Channel Islands - housed German concentration camps
Alderney - an island which housed German concentration camps during the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands - is celebrating 65 years of freedom with a Homecoming Day community service. No residents were living on Alderney when the Channel Islands were liberated in May 1945 and it was not until 15 December - since then known as Homecoming Day - that the majority travelled back to the island, which had been transformed from a holiday resort to a military stronghold.
(bbc.co.uk)

WWII archives about resistance in the Nazi-occupied Channel Islands discovered in Guernsey
An archive filled with the testimonies of persons who were deported from the Channel Islands in 1942-1943 has been discovered. In one of the testimonies, Frank Falla, who was sent to a Gestapo-run prison in Frankfurt for running an underground newsletter, recalls: "Prisoners were being executed by the Nazis by guillotine at the rate of 25 per week."
(bbc.co.uk)

A stone marking the 70th anniversary of the first commando raid on Guernsey unveiled
A stone marking the first commando raid on Guernsey, during the Nazi Occupation, has been unveiled. About 100 islanders attended the ceremony remembering the WW2 reconnaissance mission by Guernsey born Lieutenant Hubert Nicolle. The stone was unveiled by Bailiff Sir Geoffrey Rowland who called Lt Nicolle "one of Guernsey`s greatest heroes". Nicolle - nicknamed "the first commando" for his solo mission - was sent on 8 July 1940 to find out what effect the Nazi Occupation, which had begun on 30 June, was having on the population. When Nicolle returned in Sept 1940 he was forced to give himself up to the Germans.
(bbc.co.uk)

Guernsey islanders recall their deportation to the internment camps in Nazi Germany (videos)
The Nazi occupation of Guernsey remains a defining feature of the island`s landscape. Many islanders also have memories of their time spent in internment camps in the Third Reich. In 2010 an exhibition opened of items made at these camps, by some of the over 1,000 Guernsey deportees. After visiting the exhibition some deportees recalled their stories of life in the internment camps. --- Gill Chubb`s family were sent to a camp owing to their English patriarch and after a traumatic journey ended up at Biberach. Gill was "terrified of the Germans" and that the Gestapo "were like big black birds" with their long black leather coats and caps.
(bbc.co.uk)

The Channel Islands under Nazi Rule during World War II
Dominant image of Britain in World War II is of the Blitz, but there is another side to the WWII history of British territory. The Channel Islands History took a major turn from the British mainland on June 30, 1940 with the following declaration, signed by His Royal Highness King George VI: "For strategic reasons it has been necessary to withdraw the Armed Forces from the Channel Islands. I deeply regret this necessity..." With this began the arrival of German troops, which would remain in charge of the Channel Islands until May 19, 1945. The Nazis were not harsh with most of the Channel Islanders - and almost all of the resistance was symbolic.
(rantrave.com)

A novel about Nazi occupation of the Channel Island commented by the islanders
Mary Ann Shaffer`s fictional account of the Nazi occupation, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, is tipped to become the hit of the summer. Despite of her distance from the Channel Islands (she`s from West Virginia), she has written a version of Guernsey`s war years that is convincing and witty. Unfortunately she didn`t live to see it published. But how did she do it? She is described as an inveterate storyteller, having fascination with all things British and WWII. --- Some of the islanders who lived during WWII-era give their views. Miriam Mahy recalls how they had to get accustomed to the swastika flag flying over public buildings.
(timesonline.co.uk)

The liberation of Jersey from Nazi occupation in World War II
Jazz legends Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth have been booked as guests of honour for Jersey`s Liberation Day. The events from 5 to 9 May are held to mark the liberation of Jersey from Nazi occupation in WWII. The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to fall into Nazi hands during World War II. More than 2,000 islanders were deported to camps by the Germans. A giant stage will be erected and Ms Laine and Mr Dankworth will perform with the Jersey Big Band to give the event a 1940s feel.
(bbc)

Rare batch of german soldier`s letters from occupied Jersey
From the boredom of army life to the joys of Calvados - the letters offer an insight into German soldier`s lives in wartime occupied Jersey. A collection of poignant letters penned by homesick German soldiers in the week before Christmas 1941 has been deposited with the Jersey Archive. The letters have been in the possession of a man, who as a youngster on the German occupied Island, liberated them from the German field post office (Feldpostampt) in an act of passive defiance. The collection of nearly 90 letters from German soldiers includes letters containing descriptions that reveal the views of the occupying soldiers.
(24hourmuseum)

Rare war court archives of The Channel Islands to be released
Rare wartime archives are to be made available to members of public in Jersey for the first time. Details of about 750 cases where islanders were tried by German military courts during World War II are being released. The cases document the ways islanders resisted the Nazi occupation, from breaking military curfews to taking photographs in restricted areas. The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to fall into Nazi hands during WWII.
(bbc)

Banned football scores of Guernsey`s Nazi occupation era fetch £900
A set of football results that two men risked death to produce during Guernsey`s Nazi occupation has sold for £900 at a UK auction. They would have faced execution if the banned typewritten document was found. Brookes said football memorabilia usually attracted people in search of unique items. "But this must rank as the rarest set of football results ever produced," he said.
(bbc)