The Nazi occupation of the small Channel Island of Alderney irreversibly altered the landscape and lives of both the contemporary population and the subsequent generations. The evacuation of the island’s 1,500 inhabitants in June 1940 paved the way for a period of occupation by the Germans that would last until May 1945. In 1941, Hitler issued an order to fortify the Channel Islands and make them an ‘impregnable fortress’; thus creating ‘Adolf Island’. This book seeks to collate and combine historical and archaeological data relating the occupation landscape in order to produce the definitive guide to the events that took place during this period. It addresses yet unanswered questions relating to the purpose of the occupation, the lives of the labourers, known and missing, and the post-war reaction to this legacy.
Elisabeth (Brenda Blethyn), a
white Protestant from the ChannelIslands, looking for their children in the city of London
after the 7 th July terrorist attacks. Borders feature prominently in the film. The
narrative crosses various geographical borders and was filmed in different locations: France,
London and one of the ChannelIslands (Guernsey). It was a French–British
co-production and it features a multinational cast and crew, including a French director of
Algerian origin working in London. This chapter looks at the film
these problems, the available sources can still tell us a huge amount about the origins of those who made up England’s alien population. This chapter considers those from other parts of the British Isles and the ChannelIslands, before we move in chapter 5 to look at incomers from continental Europe.
The numbers and distribution of the Welsh within medieval England is the most difficult to judge, since people from Wales were specifically excluded from the scope of the alien subsidies. Only six obviously Welsh people can be found in the 1440 subsidy
artillery to the guns, and for
propaganda’. For this, they were reportedly starved,
tortured, and made to live in damp cells for six and ten months
respectively. 67 Beatings appear to have been common. Ivan
Makarenko provided information on his mistreatment which took the
form of ‘very little food’ and being regularly
‘beaten by warders’. 68 Algerian prisoners were also
physically abused. 69 At least four men housed in the prison were
from the neighbouring ChannelIslands – Eric Charles Kibble
ChannelIslands were too difficult and
expensive to defend, in the week before the occupation began, the
island’s 1432 inhabitants were evacuated to mainland Britain.
Hence, the Germans were free to make use of the houses, businesses,
fields, transport facilities and personal possessions left behind. 10 Previously
unassuming buildings and fields were transformed into labour and
concentration camps, and some became killing and burial sites. The
forced and slave labour programme also involved huge construction works
other provisions. 4 Therefore,
although some deportations began earlier in the year, it is no
coincidence that the majority of forced, slave and less-than-slave
labourers were transported off the island in June and July 1944.
With their departure, many documents relating to the labour
programme were also removed. 5
While WW2 raged on, these men endured terrible
journeys throughout the ChannelIslands, France, Germany and
Austria, during which they experienced further ill-treatment and
(including local and national government, religious leaders and
forensic specialists) consider the implications that unmarked
burials exist on British soil and the need to honour the memory of
those who perished.
For examples, see TNA, FCO 33/4872,
‘Exhumation and Transfer of German War Dead in the
British ChannelIslands’, 5 February 1962, CWGC,
7/4/2/10823, ‘Members of the German Todt Organisation.
Alderney Russian Cemetery’, 7 December 1961; CWGC,
divisions in Alderney had been
re-established in the late 1940s. Some were abandoned or buried.
Others were reused for a variety of purposes or were demolished by
Territorial Army sappers during annual visits to the island that
continued well into the 1960s. 56 Two local historians, Colin Partridge and
Trevor Davenport, have produced several monographs on the
fortifications, while several articles have appeared on this topic
in the ChannelIslands Occupation Society Review in an
attempt to raise awareness
concentration camp system – although they never actually
reached Germany (discussed further in Chapter 10 ). 151 By July 1944, all other non-German OT
workers had been evacuated from Norderney. 152 The SS Minotaure was
used to transport the remaining labourers in the ChannelIslands
back to St Malo by sea. Most of the labourers
on board were Jewish prisoners who had been housed on Alderney (and
thus were likely from Norderney camp) but workers of other
nationalities included female workers from the neighbouring
9 December 1947.
‘Information from loss clarification
documents’, https://obd-memorial.ru/html/info.htm?id=56895982 ,
11 June 1946.
‘Statement of Unteroffizier Rudolf
Kupfer’, 25 June 1945; TNA, WO199/2-090B,
‘M.I.19 (R.P.S.)/2253. Report: ChannelIslands,
Alderney’, 5 July 1944; USHMM, RG.14-101M,
‘Dr. Baldewein, Helmut’, 3 February