No period in the Channel Islands' history has had more written about it than the German Occupation of the islands from 1940 to 1945, during World War Two. This section attempts to bring together all the important elements in this, one of the darkest periods in Jersey's history, from the period before the Germans invaded, when many thousands of islanders were evacuated, to the Liberation and the joyous celebrations of freedom. Read our article summarising the Occupation period and then turn to the individual articles listed below, which provide comprehensive detail of every aspect of the five years that German troops occupied the island.
- Please note that the swastika icon is used throughout this section, not in any attempt to glorify the actions of the Germans during their occupation of Jersey, but as the recognised symbol of their repressive regime.
- We should also make clear that we refer throughout this section to the German Occupation, not the Nazi Occupation, as some people now prefer to call it. It has never been known as such in Jersey, by islanders who lived through it, from the day the German military arrived to take over the island. And it is still known as the German Occupation by islanders to day. The reason put forward by those who prefer the use of Nazi to describe those Germans who fought in the Second World War, is that the war was started by a National Socialist Government and that not all Germans were Nazis. On the contrary, all those troops and bureaucrats who occupied and administered the island were Germans, and by no means all were party members. The argument that they did not all want to be where they were is, we believe, irrelevant, because whether supporters of the cause or conscripts following orders, they were first and foremost Germans. And the man who was in charge for most of the Occupation, Graf von Schmettow, made it very clear in post-war interviews that he was not a party member and did not consider himself to be a Nazi
Life in an occupied island
- Day-to-day life
- German proclamations and orders
- An escaper's report on occupied Jersey
- Insular government
- Bailiff's secretary's record of the Occupation
- Food and Rationing
- Requisition of land and buildings Added 2023
- The economy
- Forced workers
Acts of defiance
- Court hearings
- Frank Falla Archive
- A Jersey girl sentenced to death
The end nears
- Islands under siege
- 1944 Bailiff's report New 2023
- Churchill dismisses fighting in 1944 - 'let 'em starve!'
- The Vega
- After the Liberation
- Hedley's diary, the story of how life returned to normal after the Liberation
- Nos Iles: Forward-looking 1944 publication by islanders in exile
From the desolation of the evacuation of islanders before the arrival of the Germans to the deportation of those not born in Jersey to internment camps and eventually the joy of Liberation, our picture gallery covers the full reality of occupation by a foreign power.
Many of the photographs were taken by the Germans themselves, either as personal snapshots or images commissioned for propaganda purposes.
Divided into many categories, our photographs show the Germans at work and the fortifications they built with the aid of slave workers; they show the occupying troops at leisure; they show many aspects of what life was like for the islanders.
Some photographs not included in the main gallery will be found accompanying articles shown in the index on the left
Among the lasting legacies of the German occupation are the fortifications erected around the coast and at other locations. Although some were demolished, many gun emplacements, bunkers, towers and other concrete constructions have remained to this day as a constant reminder of a period otherwise best forgotten. Some are now tourist attractions, some have even been partly restored.
- Bunkers: German defences and other installations
- German archive pictures of artillery installations
- Batterie Lothringen, Noirmont
- German high command inspection in 1941
- Underground hospital
- A gun explodes
The Channel Islands were liberated a day after the official end of the war in Europe and this joyous event is celebrated annually on 9 May. The dwindling numbers of islanders present then and alive today have, without exception, vivid memories of the final events of their occupation by German troops. This section recalls the days leading up to the end of the war, the arrival of liberating British troops, and the celebrations which followed.
- The German mutiny planned for just before the Liberation
- Pictures of the Liberation
- After the Liberation
- Grouville Common during the German Occupation
- A 1944 battle between US and German boats off Jersey
- Alderney in the Occupation
- Howard Davis Park Allied War Cemetery
- German cemetery at St Brelade's Church
- Roll of Honour
- The Occupation Tapestry
- Jersey postage stamps issued during the German Occupation
- Interview with Graf von Schmettow
- Jersey Archive Occupation records