Occupation truths need protecting

THE Channel Islands have been the subject of books and articles on the German Occupation, many written by authors and journalists who have never dug deep enough to discover the reasons for why, for instance, the Guernsey States Controlling Committee responded to requests by the enemy in such a manner as to suggest collaboration. From the very first day of the Germans landing in Guernsey, they issued a warning that if islanders misbehaved the town of St Peter Port would be bombed. The enemy held the gun and a decision was taken to protect the civilian population by obeyance. For instance, when the enemy requested the States to supply 100 cycles for their troops, such were found and delivered.

It was considered the best action to be take, otherwise the Germans would secure same by stopping workers and seizing their machines.

Only recently, a letter appeared in the Guernsey Press suggesting that the British government did nothing to support the islands during the Second World War.

But there was precious little they could do. The islands were heavily fortified and we inhabitants sincerely hoped that an armed liberation by British military units would not be undertaken. We wished to survive to witness a peaceful liberation.

There appears to be a wish to educate the young generation of children about the German Occupation of these islands. We should be sure that those who teach possess an authentic account of what occurred and not one compiled simply to entertain.

I consider that some material which has been written and published in book or article form does a disservice to the inhabitants of the islands. Much of this has been culled from mechanical sources and rewritten without a thought for those who endured five years of occupation and separation from loved ones.

HERBERT WINTERFLOOD,

Address withheld.

Comments for: "Occupation truths need protecting"

Victor Meldrew

During WW2 Guernsey was in no worse situation than any other occupied territory. In many ways, it was in a more fortunate position, especially as Hitler intended the occupation of the islands to be a stepping stone to his ultimate goal, mainland Britain. The commanders were ordered to be especially cordial to the local authorities to pave the way forward.

No-one was to foresee the outcome of the war in 1940, so what may have been labelled collaboration in 1945 may well have been previously viewed in a different light. Only those people who had to live through those days really knew the true meaning of being occupied; to judge in hindsight is unfair.

But nonetheless, to protect or hide the truth is even more short-sighted. To maintain that the population was more anti-Nazi than any other country under occupation is to do a disservice to history, and to every person who requires knowledge of this period. Only by knowing the true facts can the mistakes of the past be taught to the children of the future.