12th April 1945

Channel Islanders liberated from prisons across Germany

Channel Islanders sentenced during the Occupation to anything but the shortest prison term were routinely shipped out to mainland Europe. They were initially held in France before being transported east to prisons or camps in Germany itself.

Many remained in custody at the end of the war, and Allied forces liberated them as they continued their push across central Europe. For many Channel Islanders, freedom finally arrived on 12 April 1945, just short of a month before German forces on Jersey and Guernsey signed the Allies’ instrument of surrender.

Prisoners split up

Prisoners from Jersey, Guernsey and Sark were sent, variously, to Seigburg, Saarbrucken, Naumburg, Magdeburg, Shonebeck and Gommern prisons, and camps at Wille and Kirschau-Bautzen. Seigburg and Saarbrucken remain in use to this day as conventional prisons.

Although many Channel Islanders entered the German prison system through the same small number of channels, there was little chance of them remaining together throughout their sentence, or of new inmates being sent to prisons or camps where other Channel Islanders were already serving sentences. Even those who had been tried together, such as the members of the St Saviour Wireless group or the Guernsey Underground News Service members who had been similarly convicted of disseminating BBC news reports after the confiscation of all radios, were split up and detained in ones or twos across Germany and France.


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