No period in the Channel Islands' history has had more written about it than the German Occupation of the islands from 1940 to 1945, during World War Two. This section attempts to bring together all the important elements in this, one of the darkest periods in Jersey's history, from the period before the Germans invaded, when many thousands of islanders were evacuated, to the Liberation and the joyous celebrations of freedom. Read our article summarising the Occupation period and then turn to the individual articles listed below, which provide comprehensive detail of every aspect of the five years that German troops occupied the island.
- Please note that the swastika icon is used throughout this section, not in any attempt to glorify the actions of the Germans during their occupation of Jersey, but as the recognised symbol of their repressive regime.
- We should also make clear that we refer throughout this section to the German Occupation, not the Nazi Occupation, as some people now prefer to call it. It has never been known as such in Jersey, by islanders who lived through it, from the day the German military arrived to take over the island. And it is still known as the German Occupation by islanders to day. The reason put forward by those who prefer the use of Nazi to describe those Germans who fought in the Second World War, is that the war was started by a National Socialist Government and that not all Germans were Nazis.
On the contrary, all those troops and bureaucrats who occupied and administered the island were Germans, and by no means all were party members. The argument that they did not all want to be where they were is, we believe, irrelevant, because whether supporters of the cause or conscripts following orders, they were first and foremost Germans. And the man who was in charge for most of the Occupation, Graf von Schmettow, made it very clear in post-war interviews that he was not a party member and did not consider himself to be a Nazi