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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

BRITAIN UNDER NAZI OCCUPATION - PHOTOS of Jersey Island under Nazi rule - When the Nazis occupied the Channel Islands some British residents fully collaborated with the Nazis

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Pictures show Nazi-occupied Jersey with shop signs in GERMAN and Swastikas on the windows

  • Black-and-white photographs show life under Nazi occupation in Jersey
  • Jersey was occupied from 1940-1945, when the HMS Beagle sailed into St Helier with the advance part of Task Force 135 to reclaim the Channel Islands. 
  • Swastikas are seen in shop windows and signs are written in German
  • British policemen are seen receiving orders from groups of Nazi guards  

  • Read more, see more images, and read article of British actor who enraged islanders with his revelations of British collaboration with the Nazi occupier.

    Banners printed with Swastikas were hung from the windows during the Nazi occupation of 1940-1945
    Banners printed with Swastikas were hung from the windows during the Nazi occupation of 1940-1945
    Shop signs in Jersey were replaced by ones written in German and Swastikas were displayed in the windows
    Shop signs in Jersey were replaced by ones written in German and Swastikas were displayed in the windows

    A British police officer is seen directing traffic in front of the 'Frontbuchhandlung', or 'front bookshop'
    A British police officer is seen directing traffic in front of the 'Frontbuchhandlung', or 'front bookshop'
    Under Nazi rule, a curfew was imposed between the hours of 11pm and 5am and ID cards had to be carried
    Under Nazi rule, a curfew was imposed between the hours of 11pm and 5am and ID cards had to be carried

    Jersey was liberated in 1945 when the HMS Beagle sailed into St Helier  to reclaim the Channel Islands

    The handwritten notes on the back of the images  suggest they were most likely taken by a German soldier

    The handwritten notes on the back of the images suggest they were most likely taken by a German soldier

    With German shop signs and Swastikas displayed in windows, these chilling photographs show how Britain might have looked under Nazi rule. 
    Taken in 1943, the black-and-white pictures capture how daily life in Jersey was transformed during the occupation of the Channel Islands in the Second World War.

    The set was discovered in a German market by Bart Verstraeten, 23, a trainee para-commando medic in the Belgium military. 
    'I have always had an interest in history, especially in World War II,' he said. 'In the photographs you see a policeman controlling the traffic near a crossroad marking a book shop.
    Under Nazi rule, Jersey Law and government were allowed to continue. However, groups such as the Freemasons and Salvation Army were suppressed.
    A curfew was imposed between the hours of 11pm and 5am and ID cards had to be carried. The sale of spirits was banned. 
    The indiscriminate questioning and searching of civilians and their homes was a regular occurrence.  Mr Verstraeten added: 'People need to learn from history and photographs give an exact image of the time and how it was back then.
    'People can't imagine it exactly, but photographs and moving images do a better job taking you back in history.
    'These are rare images showing how life was during occupation and need to be shown.' 



    British actor John Nettles criticized for exposing what went on during the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands.

    John Nettles: 'Telling the truth about Channel Islands cost me my friends'

    John Nettles reveals the story that still haunts the Channel Islands
    FOR many people John Nettles will always be Detective Jim Bergerac. The actor played him for a decade from 1981 and during that time he made Bergerac's island setting of Jersey his home. In return he was embraced as Jersey's adopted son.
    However, that mutual affection was disrupted two years ago when Nettles - who is also a history graduate - fronted a three-part documentary about the Nazi Occupation of the Channel Islands during the Second World War.
    Drawn to the history of a place where he had spent so many years and yet where he had been "only vaguely aware of German bunkers", Nettles was unprepared for the hostility the documentary would provoke. He was sent abusive and threatening letters with one warning Nettles never to set foot on the Channel Islands again.
    Nettles says that filming the documentary "was a highly interesting experience but it was also quite a traumatic one.
    The islanders didn't like the way we talked about the resistance, didn't like the way we talked about the collaboration or allegations of it and they didn't like the way we talked about the treatment of the Jews by the administration of the islands."
    Now Nettles, 69, is talking about these issues some more having spent the intervening years researching a book that would enable him to "tell in much more detail the true story of those extraordinary years".
    That the book might once more fan the flames of controversy is likely but Nettles believes it is almost impossible to write about the occupation without upsetting someone even if you allow, as he does in his book, the words of those who witnessed those years to take prominence "There came a point when I thought, 'Either I don't tell this story and keep my friends or I tell it and lose them all,'" he said this week.

    The Nazi occupation

    The Channel Islands - comprising Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm - were the only part of Britain ever to fall under Nazi rule after Winston Churchill thought them impossible to defend.
    The islanders were left defenceless in the face of the advancing Third Reich and, fearing for their lives, almost the entire population of Alderney fled to mainland Britain in 1940, leaving behind, writes Nettles, "half-eaten meals on the tables and pet dogs and cats running in the roads".
    Similarly, half the people of Guernsey conducted a hurried exodus, as did one fifth of Jersey. Those who couldn't leave or had nowhere to go braced themselves to await the enemy.
    Part of Nettles's intention is to overturn a popular myth that for those who remained on the islands the ensuing five-year occupation "was a rather gentle, even benign affair".
    Nettles says: "It was believed that by and large the German invaders behaved reasonably well and kept within the terms of the Geneva Convention.

    "For their part the islanders responded by offering no resistance to their masters and only co-operating not collaborating with them, according to that same Convention.
    "It was certainly uncomfortable but not horrendous. Unpleasant but not unendurable."
    The truth, he asserts, is rather different. "It is more morally complex, ambiguous and difficult. It is the story of a sustained and wholesale attack on human values, of great suffering, venality and violence."
    Curfews were imposed, identity cards were issued and food shortages threatened the islanders with starvation.
    Radios were forbidden so islanders were utterly isolated, only hearing about the progress of the war as it was filtered through Nazi propaganda.
    How the island leaders reacted to Nazi rule is one of the highly sensitive topics surrounding these years and some details are damning.
    Nettles notes how the Dame of Sark, Sybil Hathaway, invited the invading German officers round for a lobster dinner.
    In the immediate aftermath of the war when the British government investigated all claims of collaboration with the Nazis in the Channel Islands, they immediately pointed to this as evidence of fraternisation, of collaboration.

    Similarly in Guernsey, where Victor Carey was bailiff, the British government didn't know "whether to hang him or knight him so mired in controversy was his tenure of office".
    Nettles mounts a robust defence of many of the island rulers arguing that they offered "wise and resourceful leadership" in an unprecedented situation. "As one of the Guernsey politicians said, 'The Germans always had the gun. We could do nothing but obey. Otherwise we would be dead.'"
    Island leaders tried to act as a buffer between the Germans and the islanders and called for little resistance towards the invaders because, defenceless as they were, they feared swingeing reprisals.
    However, the fact the administrators often did the Germans' bidding - dutifully drawing up lists of the places of birth of all residents, for example - had tragically fatal consequences.
    Although the island leaders did not know why the lists were required they ultimately allowed the Germans to round up thousands of people who they then sent to concentration and death camps. It also allowed the Nazis to identify Jewish residents.
    "The Jewish question in the Channel Islands is one of the most difficult to address," says Nettles. "People are deeply, deeply hurt by accusations that they are anti-Semitic, or that they were too much inclined to load the Jews on to the transporters.
    "Their defence is, 'We didn't know what was going to happen to them' but there seems to be a lack of awareness that the Jews were a special case in the Nazi ideology.  They were there to be killed and they were deserving, therefore, of the protection of the civil authorities."
    This is something they did not receive.
    Nettles makes mention of informants and of girls guilty of "collaboration horizontale", who were nicknamed Jerrybags. But he also highlights inspiring cases of resistance, countering claims that there was no "fighting spirit" on the islands.
    ONE particular case involves Louisa Gould who hid an escaped Russian. The Germans brought over hundreds of Russian slave workers to build fortifications and they were regarded as "Untermenschen" - lower than animals.

    Louisa took the escaped worker in without hesitation because she had lost a son in the war and was determined to do an act of kindness "for another mother's son". She lost her life for it.
    After two-and-a-half years Louisa was betrayed by a neighbour and while the Russian escaped she was sent to a concentration camp along with her brother Harold Le Druillenec.
    Louisa died in Ravensbruck concentration camp and Harold was the only British survivor of the horrendous Bergen-Belsen camp.
    Another heroic figure was Albert Bedane who managed to hide three Russians and one Jewish woman.
    The punishment for concealing a Jew was execution but despite the stress the concealment must have caused Albert he succeeded in keeping his guests undetected for the duration of the occupation, saving their lives.
    It was an act of brave selflessness during a time which, says Nettles, will continue to be the subject of "heated argument and impassioned debate".
    Jewels And Jackboots: Hitler's British Channel Islands by John Nettles, published by Channel Island Publishing and Jersey War Tunnels, £25.



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