Learn about life in occupied Jersey
Here we have gathered stories from people who experienced life under German occupation, told first hand or passed down the generations in local families. They tell tales of everyday life, surprising events and often unexpectedly funny situations - but always the human story, of people surviving and living their life under extraordinary circumstances.
A prison within a prison
Built in 1811 during the Napoleonic War, Jersey’s prison became increasingly busy under German rule. Discover what life was like for islanders trapped in a prison within a prison.
Fishing for the Kommandant
From being shot at to tricking German soldiers, Jersey fisherman George had an eventful few years during the Occupation. Find out more about his exciting, and sometimes comical, adventures whilst out fishing.
At the heart of things
During the Occupation, local linguists were needed to translate orders and edicts from the German authorities. Discover the story of a young women who took on the task and found herself working right at the heart of power.
Lost In The Fog
Find out what happened to Baron von Aufsess and his crew on their way to Jersey, as a sudden change in the weather caught them by surprise.
Whilst cycling along Jersey’s narrow lanes, find out how one young mother and her blue-eyed baby boy had a frightening encounter.
Worried about the threat of thieves at night, one farmer's cunning plan to deter unwanted guests goes embarrassingly wrong.
Jersey’s War Cemetery
Located within Howard Davis Park and marked by distinctive oak crosses, discover the importance this unique war memorial has to Islanders.
A Daring Raid!
The Battle of Britain wasn’t the only military action to take place close to British soil. Find out about a lesser known, but extremely daring raid made by Allied forces just off the coast of Jersey during the summer of 1944.
German forces imposed a huge number of restrictions on Islanders during the Occupation. They banned all uniformed organisations - including the Girl Guides! Find out how one brave islander took it upon herself to host regular Girl Guides meetings to keep the group going during the Occupation.
Find out how an unspoken bond formed between a young German soldier and the son of Jersey farmer thanks to Jersey’s “beautiful cows”.
In 1942, three friends - Peter Hassell, Maurice Gould and Dennis Audrain - attempted to escape from Jersey by boat, carrying plans of German fortifications.
Drinking on an empty stomach
Alongside food rationing, the sale of alcohol was also banned by the Germans during the Occupation. Find out what happened to a group of friends who managed to obtain a cask of farm cider and indulge in a rare treat.
Out with the Boys!
On 28th June 1940, just a couple of days before the German forces invaded the Channel Islands, plans were made for both Jersey & Guernsey's lifeboats to head to the Isle of Wight, where they would be safely laid up for the duration of World War II.
In May 1940, the evacuation of Dunkirk rescued over 300,000 troops in an operation that has become legendary. Less well known is Operation 'Ariel', which took place just a couple of weeks later.
For Islanders, the Occupation was a time of both extreme fear and astonishing compassion. Read an extraordinarily moving tale about how one farmer's widow helped a man in need at the risk of being caught.
The Island’s adopted anthem is sung in public at the Liberation celebrations on 9th May each year and has formed part of the tradition. Can you recall the words to one of the island's most beloved songs?
Pigs were much in demand during the Occupation, but also difficult to conceal from the authorities. Islanders tried all sorts of tricks to hide pigs in order to eat or trade the meat.
Spreading the news
For those who listened to their hidden wireless sets in secret, repeating any thing they had heard was dangerous. Everyone was hungry for news - but you had to know who you could trust.
A treasured gift
Thanks to the International Red Cross, the Swedish ship SS Vega made six trips to the Channel Islands between December 1944 and the end of the War, bringing vital supplies.
In 1940, news of the fall of France to German forces created a sudden crisis for Islanders. Should they stay? Or should they go, leaving behind their happy lives?