Almost all these sites are free public access and open to the public daily. The Occupation Tapestry Gallery is situated in the Maritime Museum and is open daily from 10am to 5pm - the entrance fee for the gallery is £4.60.
Various Island locations
During the German Occupation of Jersey from 1st July 1940 to 9th May 1945, the civilian population of 41,000 lived under the overwhelming presence of 11,000 German troops on an Island of nine by five miles. Whilst large-scale organised resistance activity was not possible, acts of dissent and disobedience were undertaken by many Islanders at great risk to themselves. Typical offences tried by German courts included the possession of a radio – these were confiscated in June 1942 – spreading the BBC news, distributing anti-Nazi propaganda, insulting a member of the German Forces, sheltering escaped Russian slave workers, stealing German goods, attempting to escape from the Island by boat, and possession of a weapon or camera.
This series of short films will introduce you to a selection of important sites intimately connected with stories of Occupation resistance, and give you a sense of the solidarity and patriotism that existed widely in the Island community under these challenging conditions. Please view them in conjunction with the Resistance Trail walking guide which can be collected from any Jersey Heritage visitor site or downloaded in full here.
1. Victoria College House, Mont Millais, St Helier.
This was the Headquarters of the German Civil AffairsDepartment (Feldkommandantur 515), where Occupation laws were created for the civilian population, and offences against them were tried in a military court. Islanders given prison sentences in excess of three months were deported to France, with a risk of being moved from a prison to a concentration camp, whilst lighter sentences were served in Jersey’s Newgate Street Prison. Watch the film here.
2. 19, Peirson Road, St Helier.
Led by Leslie Huelin and Norman Le Brocq, the Jersey Communist Party (JCP) first met here at Huelin’s flat in late 1943. They soon began circulating translated BBC news sheets amongst the foreign workers and offered shelter to Russians who had escaped from their labour camps. Later the JCP contacted a German anti-Nazi soldier named Paul Mülbach, with whom they went on produce six propaganda leaflets inciting mutiny in the ranks. Watch the film here.
3. No. 1, Silvertide, Havre des Pas, St Helier.
This building was the headquarters of the German Secret Field Police (Geheime Feldpolizei – GFP) who, whilst they were not the Gestapo, both dressed and acted like them. The head of the GFP was Hauptmann Bode, his second in command being Hauptwachtmeister Heinz Carl Wölfle, known as ‘Wolf, of the Gestapo’. Many Islanders thought to be guilty of offences were brought to Silvertide for interrogation, which was often accompanied by physical abuse. Watch the film here.
4. V-Sign, Royal Square, St Helier.
During the War the letter ‘V’ was used as a symbol of Allied victory. Despite it soon being forbidden, many Islanders painted roads, walls and signs with it to make the Germans feel like they were surrounded by hostility. A large ‘V’ was incorporated into the paving of the Royal Square by stonemason Joseph Le Guyader in the closing months of the Occupation, and revealed at the time of the Liberation. Watch the film here.
5. Occupation Tapestry Gallery, Maritime Museum, St Helier.
The Occupation Tapestry was created to mark the 50th anniversary of the Liberation in 1995. Its twelve panels, one for each Island Parish, represent specific themes and events of the period, and include symbols of resistance such as the V-sign in the Royal Square, use of forbidden radios and escape by boat. Watch the film here.
6. St Saviour’s Church, St Saviour.
On the southern wall of the nave is a memorial plaque to Canon Clifford Cohu, who was the parish minister from 1940. Cohu called out the BBC news while cycling through St Helier and passed it on to patients in the General Hospital. His source was the news sheets compiled by cemetery worker Joseph Tierney and Arthur Wakeham, who listened to a forbidden radio belonging to John Nicolle and his father. Eighteen people in total were eventually arrested in early 1943, with Cohu, Tierney, Nicolle and Arthur Dimmery being deported – none of these men survived. Watch the film here.
7. Pier Road, South Hill & Mount Bingham, St Helier.
In September 1942 Hitler announced the deportation of all English-born residents of the Channel Islands, in retaliation for the removal of German civilians working in British-occupied Iran. Crowds gathered to protest as hundreds were herded onto boats; patriotic singing erupted and echoed back and forth between those on land and on board. On 29 September as many as 1,000 people were present; the demonstration became a riot and many were arrested, some of whom were later themselves deported. Watch the film here.
8. Albert Bedane plaque, Greenwood, 45 Roseville Street (now Fountain Court).
On this site stood Albert Bedane’s home and physiotherapy surgery where, at great risk to himself, he sheltered a Jewish lady named Mary Richardson for two years. Bedane also took in escaped Russian slave workers and others on the run from the Germans. In the year 2000 Bedane received posthumous recognition of his bravery in the form of Israel’s highest holocaust honour, ‘Righteous Among the Nations’; his medal and certificate are on display in the Occupation Tapestry Gallery of the Maritime Museum in St Helier. Watch the film here.
9. Political Prisoner Memorial, Gloucester Street, St Helier.
This memorial tablet marks the location of the former Newgate Street Prison, where many Jersey people were incarcerated for acts of resistance. These individuals called themselves ‘political prisoners’; one such person was Joe Mière, who campaigned for this plaque to be erected in 1995. Watch the film here.
10. Grave of Maurice Jay Gould, Allied War Cemetery, Howard Davis Park.
Maurice Gould attempted to escape from Jersey to England in 1942, with friends Dennis Audrain and Peter Hassall. Sadly Dennis drowned, whilst Maurice and Peter were arrested and later deported to France. Having passed through various prisons and camps, Maurice contracted tuberculosis and died in October 1943. Peter survived the war and petitioned for many years to have Maurice’s body returned home; he was eventually reburied here in May 1997. Watch the film here.
11. The Lighthouse Memorial, New North Quay, St Helier.
In 1996 this decommissioned lighthouse became a memorial to the 21 Islanders who died in Nazi prisons and camps, having been tried and deported for breaking German Occupation laws. Their names can be read on the plinth around its base, where wreaths are laid each year on 27th January to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. Watch the film here.
12. Fauvic Embarkation Point.
It was from here that the majority of escape attempts took place in the last months of the Occupation, with escapees being offered great assistance from those who lived in the area. At this time it has been calculated that 152 individuals attempted to escape from Jersey, often in the hope of joining the armed forces and contributing to the war effort, but also to take intelligence to the Allies. Sadly nine Islanders are known to have died during their attempts. At the end of the Occupation, around half of all political prisoners in Jersey’s jail were imprisoned for attempting to escape or for aiding those attempting to escape. Watch the film here.
13. La Fontaine, Millais, St Ouen.
In late 1942 Louisa Gould and her sister Ivy Forster began sheltering a Russian slave worker named Fyodor ‘Bill’ Burriy, who had escaped from his labour camp. They were eventually betrayed by neighbours and traces of Bill’s presence, a forbidden camera and radio were discovered. Louisa, Ivy and their brother Harold Le Druillenec and friends Dora Hacquoil and Berthe Pitolet were arrested. Louisa, Harold and Berthe were deported, whilst the others were imprisoned locally. Berthe later escaped from prison in France, but Louisa died in the gas chamber at Ravensbrück in February 1945. Harold became the only known British man to survive the horrors of Bergen-Belsen, and later testified at the Nuremberg Trials.. Watch the film here.
14. La Rocquaise, St Brelade’s Bay.
This was the home of Suzanne Malherbe and Lucy Schwob, who were also known by their pseudonyms Marcel Moore and Claude Cahun. They were avant garde Surrealist artists and life partners who distributed BBC news bulletins amongst the German troops - placing them in pockets, briefcases or parked cars - purporting to be the work of ‘the solider without name’. The ladies were apprehended in July 1944 and sentenced to death. Alexander Coutanche, the Bailiff of Jersey, and the French Consul appealed and they were eventually released from Jersey’s prison on 8 May 1945. Watch the film here.