Archaeology and Heritage

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Caroline Sturdy Colls
and
Kevin Simon Colls

Drawing upon extensive archival research, this chapter considers the identities and demographic of the forced, slave and less-than-slave labourers sent to Alderney during the Nazi occupation. Refocusing the attention on individual and collective experiences, it demonstrates the various ways in which the nature of the work being undertaken, and the attitudes towards individuals and groups, affected the daily lives of the labourers, and how their treatment was influenced by the wider Nazi forced and slave labour programme implemented across Europe. The latter is especially important as whether the construction works on Alderney were undertaken for military/economic gain or as part of a wider strategy of persecution levied at minority groups remains one of the most contentious issues surrounding Alderney’s occupation.

in 'Adolf Island'
Abstract only
Caroline Sturdy Colls
and
Kevin Simon Colls

This chapter evaluates the fortifications that the labourers, not from the perspective of their military significance, but rather in terms of their status as products of forced and slave labour, and their impact upon the sensory experiences. The chapter draws upon the results of walkover surveys, photogrammetry and mapping exercises in order to evaluate the various interactions between the labourers and the landscapes in which they worked. also discussed are other material traces interacted with, or generated by, the labourers and members of the German garrison – most notably marks (including graffiti) and objects – while also considering the role that these played in resistance and oppression. A later section focuses on the daily lives of the labourers within the camps and other internment sites in which they were housed. The chapter concludes with a discussion about the purpose of the labour programme on Alderney, reflecting on both its economic value and role in the persecution of so-called enemies of the Third Reich.

in 'Adolf Island'
Caroline Sturdy Colls
and
Kevin Simon Colls

This chapter provides new evidence regarding the burial procedures employed on Alderney, offering new perspectives on known interment sites and identified possible unmarked, clandestine graves, by comparing the officially sanctioned burial procedures with the reality of body disposal practices on Alderney. It discusses the disorganised disposal of bodies, both within the official cemeteries and at other sites beyond their boundaries.

in 'Adolf Island'
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,
in 'Adolf Island'
Caroline Sturdy Colls
and
Kevin Simon Colls

When Alderney’s pre-war population returned in December 1945, evidence of occupation still dominated the landscape and clean-up operations continued for years afterwards. In the decades since, the islanders, local government and British government have grappled with this legacy and the issue of forced and slave labour. This chapter focuses on the legacies of the occupation and the impact that this has had on how the sites and stories connected to forced and slave labour have been approached since WW2 at local, national and international level. Beginning with a review of the impact that the ravaged landscape had on Alderney’s returning islanders and vice versa, the chapter charts the ways in which cultural memory and approaches to archaeology and heritage have evolved up to the present day.

in 'Adolf Island'
Abstract only
Caroline Sturdy Colls
and
Kevin Simon Colls

This chapter summarises the main findings of the book, highlighting the contribution of forensic archaeology to the investigation of the occupation of Alderney and Nazi persecution more generally. It provides a personal reflection by the authors regarding the challenges faced during their research and the methodological approaches taken. The chapter also outlines considerations for the future and highlights the need for further research in order to commemorate the victims.

in 'Adolf Island'
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Into the ‘tunnel of death’
Caroline Sturdy Colls
and
Kevin Simon Colls

This chapter considers the somewhat controversial topic of death and burial on Alderney and focuses on one of the main questions posed in our study: how many people died on the island, who are they and where are they buried? Although a system for registering deaths appeared to be in place, this chapter considers how this ‘system’ operated in practice. With the aid of death certificates, burial registries and other documentation, it goes on to reveal the stories of those who died on Alderney, while simultaneously demonstrating demographic trends that can further define the nature of mass violence. This chapter first considers the official registration procedures that were meant to be carried out after a death occurred and then compares these to the actual ways in which fatalities were recorded. In doing so, new evidence is presented which highlights the chaotic and deceptive nature of the death certification practices and sheds further light on the nature of interpersonal violence against the forced, slave and less-than-slave labourers. Resulting from this analysis and for the first time, the chapter also provides comprehensive information about victims whose details are recorded in surviving documentation.

in 'Adolf Island'
Caroline Sturdy Colls
and
Kevin Simon Colls

Two of the four main camps, Borkum and Helgoland, are examined in this chapter. The influx of labourers sent to Alderney during the occupation led to the need for accommodation to house them. When the British military arrived on Alderney in May 1945, they documented the presence of four main camps that the Germans had built for this purpose. Borkum, Helgoland, Sylt and Norderney – all named after German Frisian Islands – were constructed at the four corners of the island. These camps were erected near to major construction projects that commenced in mid–late 1942 and were governed by the OT (although Sylt and Norderney were later taken over by the SS). Borkum existed in the south-east corner of the island near Longy Bay and what would become several strategic strongpoints, while Helgoland was set back from a major coastal defence point in the north-west of the island near two major forts at which the labourers worked.

in 'Adolf Island'
Abstract only
Caroline Sturdy Colls
and
Kevin Simon Colls

This chapter examines the historical and archaeological evidence relating to both the OT and SS periods of Norderney’s existence, in order to demonstrate how the living conditions of the inmates and the camp administration were impacted over time. As discussed, of all the camps on Alderney, Norderney provides the best example of how the natural environment was used to ensure that control was maintained over the inmates; hence, a detailed analysis of the topography of this camp is provided as a gateway through which the experiences of the labourers can be further analysed.

in 'Adolf Island'
Arely Cruz-Santiago
and
Ernesto Schwartz-Marin

COVID-19 has reinstated the sovereign enclosures of corpse management that mothers of the disappeared had so successfully challenged in the past decade. To explore how moral duties toward the dead are being renegotiated due to COVID-19, this article puts forward the notion of biorecuperation, understood as an individualised form of forensic care for the dead made possible by the recovery of biological material. Public health imperatives that forbid direct contact with corpses due to the pandemic, interrupt the logics of biorecuperation. Our analysis is based on ten years of experience working with families of the disappeared in Mexico, ethnographic research within Mexico’s forensic science system and online interviews conducted with medics and forensic scientists working at the forefront of Mexico City’s pandemic. In the face of increasing risks of viral contagion and death, this article analyses old and new techniques designed to bypass the prohibitions imposed by the state and its monopoly over corpse management and identification.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal