The outbreak of war has had a dramatic effect on one small group of Islanders. This week, 78 Germans and five Austro-Hungarians met in St Helier’s Town Hall to discuss their situation now that they had become ‘enemy aliens’.
The new Aliens Restriction Act imposes firm conditions on all foreign nationals living in or visiting the Island. But its harshest provisions are aimed at the citizens of those countries with which Britain is now at war. As well as having to endure isolation from their homeland, Germans and Austro-Hungarian nationals must comply with strict rules governing their movement and behaviour, under threat of internment or repatriation.
The meeting was organised by Jersey’s American Consular Agent, Edward Renouf, after the neutral USA assumed responsibility for the interests of German citizens living in Britain. The outcome was said to be positive, the group vowing to cooperate fully with the Island’s authorities and support any member of their community suffering financial hardship.
Also this week comes the welcome news that the States have relented on their intentions to close St Helier’s picture houses. They can now continue to operate although must close earlier and reduce performances.