5th November 1924

Jersey concentration camp prisoner Gordon Prigent is born

When the occupying forces took over the Channel Islands, they finished the incomplete job of evacuating Alderney, and built four prison camps in the island. These housed primarily the slave labour force they imported from mainland Europe to build the concrete defences they constructed across the islands.

Two of the camps – Lager Borkum and Lager Helgoland – were work camps, but Lager Norderney and Lager Sylt were concentration camps, run by the SS. St Helier-born Gordon Prigent found himself in Norderney after refusing to paint German tanks, on account of the fact that he was, in fact, a plasterer. This was enough to mark him out as a troublemaker. He was arrested and deported to Alderney and, there, caught listening to the English news on the radio. He spent much of his time there cracking stones in the quarry, which were used to build gun emplacements.

The conditions were harsh, with meagre rations and long working hours that were sufficient to kill many of the older inmates.

Times get even harder

Towards the end of the war, when France had been liberated and supplies were running short, the occupying forces evacuated the remaining camp inmates to Guernsey and Jersey and, for a while, Prigent was incarcerated in the cells at Fort Regent. However, upon his release – and on the condition that he reported to the authorities every day – he found work as a volunteer policeman.


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