Recent national press coverage has stated incorrectly that ‘new’ information had come out about Second World War forced labour camps on Alderney and the numbers buried there.
Dr Gilly Carr, Channel Island representative to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance,said this information has been in the National Archive in London for more than a decade and is now also published online.
A copy will also be given to Guernsey’s and Jersey’s archive.
Dr Carr chairs a project within the IHRA called Safeguarding Sites, and in 2019 agreed to work with Alderney to protect the many sites there.
‘We are working on five different Holocaust sites throughout Europe, coming up with recommendations using advice from experts from all over the world to make sure the authentic sites and campsites are properly cared for and memorialised. Alderney is being prioritised.
‘We came to Alderney in 2019, but because of the pandemic we have not been back since, although we hope to be able to come in the summer and begin stakeholder discussions and find out more of what the people of Alderney want to see happen with these sites.’
In Alderney, there was a concentration camp, three or four slave labour sites and smaller temporary satellite work camps, as well as a cemetery which potentially has mass graves.
For Dr Carr and the experts she is consulting, the number of dead should not determine the response.
‘To a certain extent, whether it’s one body or one million bodies, the response should be the same.' And because we’ll never get at the exact numbers, this is something we have to get right.’
The Policy & Resources lead for external relations & constitutional affairs, Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, said it would help the States of Alderney to aid understanding about exactly what happened during the war years.
‘Part of that will be working closely with relevant international organisations to ensure that all those who suffered are appropriately remembered and honoured as well as to educate future generations so that the lessons learned are never forgotten,’ he said.
‘This is very close to all our hearts and we’re committed to doing our part to ensure transparency and recognise evidence of what occurred during this harrowing period of the world’s history.’
Lord Eric Pickles is the UK’s special envoy on post-Holocaust issues. He wrote to States President, William Tate, at the end of May saying he was committed to safeguarding the historical record.
‘I believe the best way to do this is to be open, accurate and transparent.
‘There is an abundance of evidence in the public domain that has allowed experts to discuss what happened on Alderney, providing ample proof of the crimes committed by the Nazis on British soil.
‘In a world where Holocaust denial, distortion and revisionism is increasing, we have a duty to provide the unvarnished facts.
‘I believe the best way forward is to ensure that all documents, photographs and other materials relating to this dark period of history are published.’