One family lived in Herm Island and Lihou was abandoned. Eighteen months later, Steiner alerted the Germans to her presence. This sign was put in front of a store after British people were liberated from the Germans. Although plans had been drawn up and proposed in 1943 by Vice Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten for Operation Constellation, a military reconquest of the islands, these plans were never carried out. The British considered the offer, a memorandum from Winston Churchill stating "Let 'em starve. [13], The Home Office instructed the lieutenant governors that in the eventuality of the recall of the representatives of the Crown, the bailiffs should take over their responsibilities and that the bailiffs and Crown Officers should remain at their posts. The German authorities changed the Channel Island time zone from GMT to CET to bring the islands into line with most of continental Europe, and the rule of the road was also changed to driving on the right. Others participated in non-violent resistance activities. [79], The following morning, 9 May 1945, HMS Bulldog arrived in St Peter Port, Guernsey and the German forces surrendered unconditionally aboard the vessel at dawn. After the occupation, the islanders used some of the fortifications for other purposes, but most were stripped out in scrap drives (and by souvenir hunters) and left abandoned. Denied access to BBC broadcasts, the populations of the islands felt increased resentment against the Germans and increasingly sought to undermine the rules. Edwards, G. B. Former fugitives who had been sheltered by islanders were included among the guests at 50th anniversary celebrations of the Liberation in 1995. The Channel Islands are … Guernsey Museum Object No. The Nazi Organisation Todt operated each camp and used forced labour to build bunkers, gun emplacements, air raid shelters, and concrete fortifications. Unlike in the UK, Conscription did not exist, but a number of people travelled to Britain to join up as volunteers. © 2019 all rights reserved        About | Contact | Newsletter | Partners | Join us | Press | Directory | Privacy Policy | Log In, September ’44: The first liberated city in Belgium, Cuesmes, “collateral damage” of the Liberation, Bombing of the Bezuidenhout: 3 March 1945. The islanders' food supplies were already dwindling, and this made matters considerably worse – the islanders and German forces alike were on the point of starvation. [45] Hitler had decreed that 10% of the steel and concrete used in the Atlantic Wall go to the Channel Islands. They were in Guernsey researching the story of the 2,000 people deported from the Channel Islands in 1942-43. Visit historical sites or join a expert-led tour to cast light on this dark side of Jersey’s (c) VisitGuernsey. Bertram BEM, of East Lynne, Fauvic, they successfully avoided recapture by the German forces. Some have been restored, such as Battery Lothringen and Ho8, and are open for the general public to visit. [48] Norderney camp housed European (mainly Eastern Europeans but including Spaniards) and Soviet forced labourers. [71] Sir Donald Banks felt that there must be an informed voice and body of opinion among exiled Guernseymen and women that could influence the British Government, and assist the insular authorities after the hostilities were over. The restrictions included: As part of the Atlantic Wall, between 1940 and 1945 the occupying German forces and the Organisation Todt constructed fortifications, roads, and other facilities in the Channel Islands. The view of the majority of islanders about active resistance to German rule was probably expressed by John Lewis, a medical doctor in Jersey. Light railways were built in Jersey and Guernsey to supply coastal fortifications. [68][69] Three guns were back in action in August, the fourth by November. The effects of the occupation were far reaching. The German occupation of the Channel Islands lasted for most of the Second World War, from 30 June 1940 until their liberation on 9 May 1945. [1] The Alderney Railway was taken over by the Germans who lifted part of the standard gauge line and replaced it with a metre gauge line, worked by two Feldbahn 0-4-0 diesel locomotives. The German railway infrastructure was dismantled after the liberation in 1945. Lanz announced through an interpreter that Guernsey was now under German occupation. Each bailiwick was left to make its own regulations as necessary. Local officials made some effort to mitigate anti-Semitic measures by the Nazi occupying force, and as such refused to require Jews to wear identifying yellow stars and had most former Jewish businesses returned after the war. The taxes were therefore collected into the general Bailiwick of Guernsey revenue funds (at the same rate as Guernsey) and administered by the States of Guernsey. For example, Philippe William Luce (writer and journalist, 1882–1966) founded the Vancouver Channel Islands Society in 1940 to raise money for evacuees. Christian Streit: Keine Kameraden: Die Wehrmacht und die Sowjetischen Kriegsgefangenen, 1941–1945, Bonn: Dietz (3. [1] Jersey surrendered on 1 July. Between 3 September 1939, when the United Kingdom declared war against Germany, and 9 May 1940, little changed in the Channel Islands. Credit: TheIslandWiki. Thirteen air crew died. Eddie Chapman, an Englishman, was in prison for burglary in Jersey when the invasion occurred, and offered to work for the Germans as a spy under the code name Fritz, and later became a British double agent under the code name ZigZag. Occupied for almost five years by German forces in June 1940, the Islands of Guernsey are strategically located in the English Channel between England and northern France. On specific orders from Adolf Hitler in 1942, the German authorities announced that all residents of the Channel Islands who were not born in the islands, as well as those men who had served as officers in World War I, were to be deported. [82] The only trials connected to the occupation of the Channel Islands to be conducted under the Treachery Act 1940 were against individuals from among those who had come to the islands from Britain in 1939–1940 for agricultural work. Particularly in Guernsey, which evacuated the majority of school-age children ahead of the occupation, the occupation weakened the indigenous culture of the island. The horticulture and tourist trades continued as normal; the British government relaxed restrictions on travel between the UK and the Channel Islands in March 1940, enabling tourists from the UK to take morale-boosting holidays in traditional island resorts. As many of the islands' young men had joined the armed forces at the outbreak of war, there was a shortfall in manual labour on the farms, particularly for the potato crop; 150 registered conscientious objectors associated with the Peace Pledge Union and 456 Irish workers were recruited for Jersey. However, as time progressed the situation grew gradually worse, leading to forced labour, mass deportations and ending in near starvation for both occupied and occupiers during the winter of 1944–45. The Channel Islands were liberated after the German surrender. The abandoned German equipment and fortifications posed a serious safety risk and there were many accidents after the occupation resulting in several deaths. [1], The Germans did not realise that the islands had been demilitarised (news of the demilitarisation had been suppressed until 30 June 1940),[1] and they approached them with caution. He asked the British government to leave the Channel Islands in peace. As it turned out that the German surrender was entirely peaceful and orderly and civil order had been maintained, these regulations were used only for technical purposes such as reverting to Greenwich Mean Time. On arrival in the islands, the Germans issued proclamations imposing new laws on the resident islanders. HMS Rodney was called up on 12 August to fire at the battery. This was not a possibility that the British had envisaged. [1], Following the liberation of 1945, allegations of collaboration with the occupying authorities were investigated. At first the bailiffs submitted legislation for the assent of the kommandant signed in their capacities as lieutenant governors. Louis Symes: sheltered his son 2nd Lt James Symes, who was on a commando mission to the island. In 1942 the ban became draconian, with all radio listening (even to German stations) being banned by the occupiers, a ban backed up by the confiscation of wireless sets. What Resistance?" The 800-year old castle currently houses four museums and offers panoramic views across St Peter Port harbour and out to the other smaller Islands of Guernsey. It is the overthrow, complete and final, of this Empire and of everything for which it stands, and after that the conquest of the world. The D-Day landings in 1944 signalled the beginning of the end of the German occupation, but it was not until nearly a year later that the islands were finally liberated. The funerals became an opportunity for some of the islanders to demonstrate their loyalty to Britain and their opposition to the occupiers: around 5,000 islanders attended the funeral, laying 900 wreaths – enough of a demonstration against the occupation for subsequent military funerals to be closed to civilians by the German occupiers. General inquiries: info@liberationroute.com The Channel Islands were officially liberated on 9 May 1945, a day after Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced the news. A platoon of Luftwaffe airmen was flown that evening to Guernsey by Junkers transport planes. After World War II, a court-martial case was prepared against ex-SS Hauptsturmführer Max List (the former commandant of Lagers Norderney and Sylt), citing atrocities in Alderney. He did not wait for the island to be liberated and went to the repeater station where he informed the German officer in charge that he was taking over the building on behalf of the British Post Office. The German authorities buried them with full military honours. The law provided for an elected States of Alderney, a justice system and, for the first time in Alderney, the imposition of taxes. On several occasions British aircraft dropped propaganda newspapers and leaflets on the islands. Guernsey became responsible for many governmental functions and services. Mr Warder, a GPO lineman, had been stranded in the island during the occupation. Joseph Le Guyader found a unique way of expressing his recalcitrance, by laying paving stones in the shape of a V-for-Victory in a public place. Sherwill's situation illustrated the difficulty for the island government and their citizens to cooperate—but to stop short of collaborating—with their occupiers and to retain as much independence as possible from German rule. [15], The Germans initially followed a policy of presenting a non-threatening presence to the resident population for its propaganda value ahead of an eventual invasion and occupation of the United Kingdom. [73], Bertram Falle, a Jerseyman, had been elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Portsmouth in 1910. To Hitler, the Channel Islands represented the one piece of the British Isles he had captured - all the more important when his plans to invade Britain were put on permanent hold. [1] On 10 May 1940, Germany attacked the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg by air and land and the war stepped closer. The bearer has been instructed to hand this communication to you. Alexander Coutanche. Listening to the BBC had been banned in the first few weeks of the occupation and then (surprisingly given the policy elsewhere in Nazi-occupied Europe) tolerated for a time before being once again prohibited. The withdrawal of the lieutenant governors on 21 June 1940 and the cutting of contact with the Privy Council prevented Royal Assent being given to laws passed by the legislatures. Some chose to remain and were trapped by the occupation. Having their own governments continuing to govern them softened the blow and kept most civilians at a distance from their oppressors. The German offer was rejected in late September. In 1944, the popular German film actress Lil Dagover arrived to entertain German troops in Jersey and Guernsey with a theatre tour to boost morale.[19]. The Islands of Guernsey are what’s known as an ‘archipelago’ – a collection of islands located on the English Channel between England and France. Reilly stayed behind in Germany to broadcast on radio and joined the Sicherheitsdienst (SD). [43], Conscripted labourers from France, Belgium, and the Netherlands were also assigned. The Germans allowed entertainment to continue including cinemas and theatre; their military bands performed in public. As a sign of resistance, he incorporated into the design for the 3d stamp the script initials GR (for Georgius Rex) on either side of the "3" to display loyalty to King George VI. Rue de Stassart 131 During the occupation he represented the interests of islanders and pressed the British government to relieve their plight, especially after the islands were cut off following D-Day. [6], On 16 June 1940, the Lieutenant-Governors of each island were instructed to make available as many boats as possible to aid the evacuation of Saint-Malo. The situation of retrospectively regularising legislation passed without Royal Assent had to be dealt with. While the liberation was achieved without armed conflict, sadly both British and German soldiers went on to lose their lives clearing mines. The States in both bailiwicks passed legislation to nationalise Masonic property later in 1941 in order to protect the buildings and assets. [4] Two bombers were lost in the action. Guernsey was too far away to help at such short notice. Welcome to the Europe Remembers platform and thank you for your interest in contributing to our awareness campaign. The realisation of the necessity of civilian evacuation from the Channel Islands came very late. Sanders, Paul (2005), "The British Channel Islands under German Occupation 1940–1945", Jersey Heritage Trust / Société Jersiaise. 3512 EH Utrecht, The Netherlands Crowds cheer as the Channel Islands are liberated at Saint Peter Port in 1945 The population of Sark largely remained where they were; but in Alderney, all but six people left. The first shipborne German troops consisting of two anti-aircraft units, arrived in St. Peter Port on the captured freighter SS Holland on 14 July.[17]. Jersey surrendered to the Germans on 1st July and islanders had to put white flags over their houses to show they had surrendered. Eight times elected to the House of Commons, in 1934 he was raised to the House of Lords with the title of Lord Portsea. In the hours following the liberation, members of the British liberating forces were obliged to intervene to prevent revenge attacks.[86]. In contrast, no Sark residents left the Island. A similar attack occurred in Jersey where nine died. In May 1945, The Islands Were Finally Liberated In May of 1945, World War II was finally over, and Adolf Hitler was declared to be dead. More important still, there would be instant repercussions on the civilian population who were very vulnerable to all sorts of reprisals. [1] Twenty-two Allied air attacks on the Channel Islands during the war resulted in 93 deaths and 250 injuries, many being Organisation Todt workers in the harbours or on transports. "Our dear Channel Islands will be free tomorrow," the statement said. Castle Cornet sits at the mouth of Guernsey’s St. peter Port harbour. On 20 October 1941 Hitler signed a directive, against the advice of Commander-in-Chief von Witzleben, to turn the Channel Islands into an "impregnable fortress". One million were produced between 1949 and 1952. Five categories of construction worker were employed (or used) by the Germans. Between August 1940 and August 1944, over 570 Islanders were arrested and deported from the Channel Islands to German prisons and concentration camps. [55] Of the 2,300 deported, 45 would die before the war ended. Nine Islanders are known to have drowned and one, Douglas Le Marchand, was shot by a German sentry. The pamphlet Nos Îles published in London by a committee of islanders was influential in the 1948 reform of the constitutions of the Bailiwicks. The message in Guernsey was changed to an anti-evacuation one; in total, 5,000 school children and 12,000 adults out of 42,000 were evacuated. He found that the airport had been taken over by the Luftwaffe. Despite the unprecedented size of the enemy presence, approximately one German soldier to four civilians, and the threat of severe punishment, acts of subversion were widespread. 1978), Evacuation of civilians from the Channel Islands in 1940, Living with the enemy in the German-occupied Channel Islands, Resistance in the German-occupied Channel Islands, Civilian life under the German occupation of the Channel Islands, Irish Republican Army – Abwehr collaboration in World War II, Deportations from the German-occupied Channel Islands, Liberation of the German-occupied Channel Islands, In Toni's Footsteps: The Channel Island Occupation Remembered, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Aviation accidents and incidents in the Channel Islands in the 1940s, Fort Hommet 10.5 cm Coastal Defence Gun Casement Bunker, Military history of France during World War II, Neuengamme concentration camp subcamp list, Sark during the German occupation of the Channel Islands, "Eleanor Roosevelt and the Guernsey Evacuee | Guernsey Evacuees Oral History", "Guernsey files reveal how islanders defied Nazi occupation", "Occupation Memorial | Resources | Forced Workers", The British Channel Islands; 1940–45 (Historical Boys Clothing), "SiteName: Lager Sylt Concentration Camp", "Aurigny ; un camp de concentration nazi sur une île anglo-normande (English: Alderney, a Nazi concentration camp on an island Anglo-Norman)", "Scouting in Occupied Countries: Part Eight", "Gladys Skillett: wartime deportee and nurse", "Guernsey resistance to German occupation 'not recognised, "H.M.S. The Channel Islands were the only British territory to be occupied by the Germans during the Second World War. The Lieutenant Governor of Jersey discussed with the Bailiff of Jersey the matter of being required to carry on administration under German orders. 1. [62] Edmund Blampied also forged stamps for documents for fugitives. [76]:54, It took months of protracted negotiations before the International Committee of the Red Cross ship SS Vega was permitted to bring relief to the starving islanders in December 1944, carrying Red Cross parcels, salt and soap, as well as medical and surgical supplies. [1], Since the state of affairs in the islands had been largely unknown and there had been uncertainty as to the extent of resistance by the German forces, the Defence (Channel Islands) Regulations of 1944 had vested sweeping administrative powers in the military governor. The naval gunfire was not very effective. [45], Soon after the sinking of HMS Charybdis on 23 October 1943, the bodies of 21 members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines were washed up in Guernsey. Bunting's point was that the Channel Islanders did not act in a Churchillian manner, they "did not fight on the beaches, in the fields or in the streets. In 1941 hundreds of unemployed French Algerians and Moroccans were handed to the Germans by the Vichy government and sent to Jersey. Beside the Elizabeth Marina is Richard Perry’s Freedom Tree, which was unveiled by HM Queen Elizabeth II on 60th anniversary of the Liberation. It therefore fell to evacuees and other islanders living in the United Kingdom prior to the occupation to ensure that the islanders were not forgotten. Following 6 June 1944, liberation became more likely in the popular mind, but the hardest times for the civilians was still to come. The German Occupation Museum offers a fascinating insight into the Occupation and Liberation of the Islands of Guernsey during this dark period of history. Those choosing to remain experienced five hard and hungry years living under stifling rules and regulations. The last troops left the islands on 20 June, departing so quickly that bedding and half-consumed meals were left in Castle Cornet.[8]. The liberation of the Channel Islands came at the end of the war, despite the fact that the Allies had landed in France and liberated most of the country by the end of 1944, as it was not thought to be worth the cost in lives, both military and civilian; the German garrison was isolated and posed no threat to the European campaign. [45], A shortage of coinage in Jersey (partly caused by occupying troops taking away coins as souvenirs) led to the passing of the Currency Notes (Jersey) Law on 29 April 1941. The fear of internment caused suicides in all three islands. The proposed attack was never mounted. The Bailiff of Jersey called on the Saint Helier Yacht Club in Jersey to help. Landing in both Guernsey and Jersey, they were greeted by crowds of cheering Islanders, joyously celebrating their freedom. [45], The deportations of 1942 sparked the first mass demonstrations against the occupation. In Jersey and Guernsey, laws[84][85] were passed to confiscate retrospectively the financial gains made by war profiteers and black marketeers, although these measures also affected those who had made legitimate profits during the years of military occupation. La Valette Museum is situated within an German tunnel complex and exhibits the German Occupation and subsequent Liberation of the Islands of Guernsey. [1], In Sark, the Dame was left in command of the 275 German troops in the island until 17 May when they were transferred as prisoners of war to England. Four yachts set off immediately, with 14 others being made ready within 24 hours. The Germans built many camps in Jersey, Guernsey, and four camps in Alderney. «; More World War Two. This tablet was unveiled on the 50th anniversary of this event on 20 January 1995 by Sir Peter Crill KBE, Bailiff of Jersey.". There was no armed resistance movement in the Channel Islands. In a request for labour dated 19 July 1941, the Oberbefehlshaber West cited the "extreme difficulty" of procuring local civilian labour. Many of the bunkers, batteries and tunnels can still be seen today. The authorities in Alderney, having no direct communication with the UK, recommended that all islanders evacuate, and all but a handful did so. On the 9th May 1945, … [11] The German military authorities tried to prohibit sexual fraternisation to reduce incidences of sexually transmitted diseases. The legislatures resisted attempts to pass anti-Masonic measures and no individual Freemason was persecuted for his adherence. Create an account to register your event or tour, use our API and download all the free Europe Remembers marketing materials to design your own campaign. Guernsey evacuated 80% of children of school age, giving the parents the option of keeping their children with them, or evacuating them with their school. [14] The bailiffs took over the civil, but not the military, functions of the lieutenant governors. Anticipating a swift victory over Britain, the occupying German forces initially experimented by using a relatively moderate approach to the non-Jewish population, supported by local collaborators. This had aroused indignation among some citizens. Around 6,000 of a population of 47,000 evacuated from Jersey. In Jersey, a 1,000 mm (3 ft 3.mw-parser-output .sr-only{border:0;clip:rect(0,0,0,0);height:1px;margin:-1px;overflow:hidden;padding:0;position:absolute;width:1px;white-space:nowrap} 3⁄8 in) gauge line was laid down following the route of the former Jersey Railway from St Helier to La Corbière, with a branch line connecting the stone quarry at Ronez in St John. An example that arose was to what extent non-military "gardening" was being intended as military camouflage. They went by police car to the Royal Hotel where they were joined by the bailiff, the president of the controlling committee, and other officials. On the night of 19 January 1945 they removed a small boat from this harbour and 15 hours later after an arduous crossing in bad weather, landed near Carteret on the French Cotentin Peninsula. [1], Last-minute arrangements were made to enable British administration to legally continue under the circumstances of occupation. [citation needed], HMS Beagle, which had set out at the same time from Plymouth, performed a similar role in liberating Jersey. The Dame of Sark, Sibyl Hathaway, encouraged everyone to stay. The Fauvic area was closest to the French. The winter of 1944-45 was very cold and hungry, many of the population being saved from starvation by the arrival of Red Cross parcels. Besides relief work, these groups also undertook studies to plan for economic reconstruction and political reform after the end of the war. [24] The issue of collaboration was further inflamed by the fictional television programme Island at War (2004), which featured a romance between a German soldier and an island woman and favourably portrayed the German military commander of the occupation. That wouldn’t just be the lives of combatants, but of the islanders too. [11] In October 1940 German officials issued the first anti-Jewish Order, which instructed the police to identify Jews as part of the civilian registration process. The islands were liberated on May 9th 1945 with the surrender of the German occupying forces and arrival of British troops. [61] A year later he was asked to design six new postage stamps for the island, in denominations of ½d to 3d. Apr 16, 2014 - Occupation and Liberation of the Channel Islands from the Germans during WWII. [43], The fifth category of labour were British conscientious objectors and Irish citizens. [3], On 15 June, after the Allied defeat in the Battle of France, the British government decided that the Channel Islands were of no strategic importance and would not be defended, but did not give Germany this information. [90] He did not stand trial, and is believed to have lived near Hamburg until his death in the 1980s. "Jerry-bags" were women who had fraternised with German soldiers. Lucasbolwerk 10 HMS Bulldog arrived in Guernsey on 9 May 1945 and a declaration of unconditional surrender was signed the following day. Freemasonry was suppressed by the Germans. This was frowned upon by the majority of islanders, who gave them the derogatory nickname Jerry-bags. [43], Most of the Soviet slave workers came from Ukraine. In Jersey, 22 islanders are recognised as having died as a consequence of having been sent to Nazi prisons and concentration camps. [91], An inscription, reading "Liberated" in Jèrriais, was installed at La Pièche dé l'Av'nîn in St. Helier to mark the 60th anniversary of the Liberation in 2005, An underground command bunker, built at La Hougue Bie in Jersey, now houses an exhibition commemorating the workers from across Europe forced to build defences during the occupation, Liberation monument, La Piaeche d'la Libérâtiaon, Saint Peter Port, Plaque at Gorey: "Captain Ed Clark, Lieutenant George Haas: On 8 January 1945 these two American officers escaped from their prisoner of war camp in St. Helier. The lighthouse stood at St. Catherine’s Pier for over 100 years, before it was decommissioned in 1996. [47] Lager Helgoland was filled with Soviet Organisation Todt workers and the labourers in those camps were paid for work done which was not the case with inmates at the two concentration camps, Sylt and Norderney. Hidden radio receivers and underground news distribution networks spread. Opinion was divided and chaos ensued with different policies adopted by the different islands. "Any sort of sabotage was not only risky but completely counterproductive. The occupation lasted for almost five years until the end of the war. Aufl., 1. During WWII how were the Channel Islands occupied by the Germans become liberated? The British government concluded its best policy was to make available as many ships as possible so that islanders had the option to leave if they wanted to. With no planning and secrecy being maintained, communications between the island governments and the UK took place in an atmosphere of confusion and misinterpretation. 45 ] Hitler had decreed that 10 % of the Islands were liberated on May 10th, and camps!, 1941–1945, Bonn: Dietz ( 3 of a population of 40,000, were... August 1944, the Channel Islands were liberated after the liberation of the islanders involved in Channel. Her song `` Alderney '', Jersey Heritage Trust / Société Jersiaise islanders. 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