Walk marks 80th anniversary of deportees arriving in Biberach

ONE of islanders’ darkest moments of the Second World War has been recently marked by a commemorative walk.

Monday 14 November was the 80th anniversary of the arrival of deportees from Guernsey to Camp Lindele, in the German town of Biberach.

About 2,200 UK-born islanders were deported to prison camps in Germany, including Biberach. Among them was Sir Ambrose Sherwill, the president of the States Controlling Committee and de facto head of the civilian population.

In the 1990s the Guernsey Deportees Association sent a group to the town for a reconciliation week, and since then Guernsey has shared close links with the southern German town.

Guernsey Association of Former Deportees chairwoman Jill Chubb was only three when she made the walk through Biberach. Now aged 83, she was not able to attend the walk, but wrote to the Biberach Friends of Guernsey to mark the occasion.

Commemorative walk by members of the Biberach Friends of Guernsey, picture by Helga Reiser (31489265)

In her letter she said: ‘The purpose of marking events such as these must surely be to learn the futility of war and the hatred that it causes and ensuring, by coming together united, as friends today, we are able to show future generations the importance of love and tolerance.

‘Perhaps the biggest emotion suffered by most was the fear of the unknown. This was only heightened by being taken from their homes, and leaving friends and relatives. There were no certainties about what the fate of the deportees would be until the day of Liberation on 23 April 1945.’

About 25 members of this twinning association took part, among them the former Mayor of Biberach, Thomas Fettback, plus members of the Jersey Committee from the local town of Bad Wurzach.

Commemorative walk by members of the Biberach Friends of Guernsey, picture by Helga Reiser (31489263)

The walk went from Biberach Railway Station to the site of the former camp about 2km away, which is today a police college, with one of the walkers carrying a suitcase to symbolise how the deportees had walked carrying their few belongings.

Along the route Helga Reiser and Rotraud Rebmann from the Friends of Guernsey Committee read aloud from the published diaries and memoirs from some of those who had experienced life in the camp which described the ordeal men, women and children had to go through on their

arrival.

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