Guernsey Press

There’s still a case for compensation for the damage caused in Alderney

THE damage done to all the Channel Islands during the Occupation was immense and I believe that a very good case could have been made in 1945 for Germany to pay war reparations to each island. Understandably perhaps, other priorities prevented this from being pursued then.


Guernsey and Jersey, with larger economic bases and typical entrepreneurship, have recovered so successfully that to make any claim now would be totally unrealistic.

Alderney is a different matter. The damage there was so much worse that the island was almost declared uninhabitable for the foreseeable future.

This is vividly recorded in a documentary called the Homecoming which is available to purchase from, or to view in the Alderney Tourist Office.

It portrays the state of the island over six months after our Liberation Day, and the appalling conditions that those brave Ridunians had to overcome on their return after 15 December 1945.

I commend every reader to view it.

I watched it about four years ago and I immediately thought that there was still a case for compensation to be pursued from Germany. Since then, I have put this forward to senior politicians who have brushed the thought aside in typical risk-averse fashion, while still managing to keep mock horror off their faces at the very idea.

What is there to lose? Italy and Poland have been pursuing Second World War claims of their own. Germany has paid more than 1bn euros to each of Rwanda and Namibia for 20th century genocides, and the evidence provided by the Homecoming is unanswerable.

It is particularly ironic that while Alderney received next to nothing, large amounts of aid were given to Germany, to aid their recovery, by the USA and Great Britain.

The publication of the Lord Pickles’ Alderney expert review and the 80th anniversary of D-Day makes this an ideal time to make an approach which one would not call ‘war reparations’, but find a more sympathetic term, reflecting forgiveness and friendship with past events forgotten, perhaps couched in terms of German foreign aid given in reconciliation.

I have every confidence that Jonathan Le Tocq, our deputy with responsibility for external affairs, could find exactly the right words.

I hope our States members read this letter and take up the idea or at least respond and give reasons why not.

Perhaps that is a hope in vain, as they do not seem to have a good record in responding to suggestions from the public.

It is now over six months since they appealed to islanders for ideas to help our economy and the results still seem to be undergoing tortuous analysis. An efficient government would have picked out the best suggestions, made a media announcement, and started to implement them immediately.

Geoff Dorey

Les Queux