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During the second world war, the island of Guernsey in the English Channel, was taken over and occupied by the Nazis. I have been thinking about it a lot of late, particularly after having recently re watched and re read the book and film " The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. "

When people are subjected to over reach by their " masters " , subjected to curfews and restrictions on who can gather and for what reason, there is a feeling of deja vu which, sadly, is growing rather than diminishing in my mind.

To those of you unfamiliar with the history of this, The German occupation of the Channel Islands lasted for most of World War II, from 30 June 1940 until liberation on 9 May 1945. The Bailiwick of Jersey and Bailiwick of Guernsey are two British Crown dependencies in the English Channel, near the coast of Normandy. The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Empire to be occupied by Nazi Germany during the war. They also occupied Aldernley, a smaller island.

The islands were de-militarised by the British government in June 1940 and British officials and their families evacuated. The islanders however were left behind and had no realistic option other than to accept German occupation. There were no British military forces left to 'defend' the islands, so the local government, in an effort to protect the lives and property of islanders, reluctantly accepted German rule for the next 5 years. 

Many children were evacuated, but some stayed.

 

Bill Morvan recounts his memories of wartime Jersey in the Channel Islands, at a time where the Island was under German Occupation. He is interviewed by his granddaughter, Louise Morgan.

It is well worth the watch. Much to be taken in from his recollections of an event that was so very long ago. 

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. 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.source.

 

According to John Lewis, a medical doctor in Jersey at the time, "Any sort of sabotage was not only risky but completely counterproductive. More important still, there would be instant repercussions on the civilian population who were very vulnerable to all sorts of reprisals." 

Life as a civilian during the occupation came as a shock. Having their own governments continuing to govern them softened the blow and kept most civilians at a distance from their oppressors. Many lost their jobs when businesses closed down and it was hard to find work with non-German employers. As the war progressed, life became progressively harsher and morale declined, especially when radios were confiscated and then when deportations took place in September 1942. Food, fuel, and medicines became scarce and crime increased. Following 6 June 1944, liberation became more likely in the popular mind, but the hardest times for the civilians was still to come. 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.

It is a long video but well worth your time, I assure you. 

This is a one hour audio documentary the about the German Occupation of the British Channel Islands during World War Two and a tribute to some of those people who endured it. Here is a record of their experiences during those years: a first hand account of life in the only British territory to be controlled by Nazi Germany.

In 1990 Simon Watkins and Craig Le Marquand produced this one-hour audio documentary to mark the 45th anniversary of the Liberation of the Channel Islands from German forces. Over the years more and more people who lived through that dramatic time pass away and their memories and stories go with them.

This programme therefore is permanent record of the most significant period in World, British and Channel Island history. It has an historical narrative of that time by Roy McLoughlin and is punctuated with interviews and recollections of the people who lived through it to form a truly accurate insight into this ill-assorted community at war. A sample of what the United Kingdom would have experienced should it have fallen.

These fascinating interviews include arrests, bombings, Commando landings, deportations, heroic escapes, and much more. From the landing of the troops in 1940 to the Liberation five years later, these recollections will take you back in time and through those dark years and explain how it felt to be living under Nazi rule and in the shadow of a foreign power. source: Simon Watkins

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In the book " The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society " a story is told of a group of islanders caught out late at night, after curfew. The German guards demanded to know what valid reason they had for disobeying the lockdown orders. Little could they confess that they had been eating a roast pig that they had hidden from the Nazi's so they fabricated a story that they had been attending a meeting of their small club of avid readers who shared their love of reading and their fascination with pies made from potato peelings.

In order to keep up the charade, they had to actually form said club and, through their weekly meetings, developed a love of reading, literature and companionship. It was an unlikely scenario but one that the Germans accepted and life rolled on. 

Of course, there were tragedies when one of their small group was deported to the hell hole that was a Nazi Concentration camp where she was murdered.

 

The reality for the Channel Islanders was increasingly grim and their fate is far beyond the scope of this article. Suffice to say, families were torn apart, lives destroyed and trusts shattered as resident turned against resident and entire communities turned into groups of individuals whose primary goal in life was to survive until " It " was over.

Thankfully, it finally WAS over and the people celebrated. 

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British Force 135 had arrived and the Germans had surrendered, Occupation had lasted for five long years.

 

Much like the good folk of Guernsey, in the novel, people today are forming unlikely clubs and online groups. What started as a mutual hunger for truth in the media, social media, government and the pharmaceutical industry,  people from completely different backgrounds have gravitated to online meeting places to ponder and bitch and moan, express outrage, despair, helplessness and disbelief at the occupation of our once free societies.

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Those of us who have started online community discussion groups are being subjected to cancel culture and accusations of hate speech, civil irresponsibility for noncompliance and being ostracised by friends and family for daring to express concern about the removal of our civil liberties. We are shunned in public places for not wearing masks, refusing injections until they are proven safe and daring to express outrage at the immorality and cruelty of halal slaughter of animals, abortion of our little babies and the injustice of racial discrimination against people with fairer complexions.

Our ability to accept donations is being curtailed by a single complaint from a single disgruntled person and the hatred keeps pouring through like a breach in a dam wall ... yet nothing is done to plug the hole.

The people of the Channel Islands endured years of this deprivation of civil liberty, yet they survived when liberation came in the form of victory over the Nazis.

My concern is that we will be waiting a long time for the sheriff to ride in and save the village ( as Clint Eastwood would have done in the good old days). 

Trump was the new Sherriff in town but they got rid of him...

This time, the Nazi jackboot is on our throats and too many of our fellow citizens are lining up to join in and snitch or, as we say down under, " dob " in a Digger.

I don't fancy the idea of a potato peel pie and our site, patriotrealm.com already caters to readers, so I am thinking about sponsoring a site that we can donate to that is all about knitting.

Surely a site about knitting can't be banned ... can it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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