Jersey, one of the Channel Islands just off the coast of northern France, was occupied by German troops in July 1940. The law, government and police force were allowed to function, but the Gestapo also operated on the island and slave labourers were sent there from all over Europe to build fortifications and work on other construction projects. The 40,000 original inhabitants who remained on the island suffered many hardships. The island was liberated in May 1945.

More information on the occupation of Jersey 1940-1945 can be found here.

Julian Gray's blog post reviews a number of books about the German Occupation of the Channel Islands


Two British policemen with a German solider on a bicycle

Two British policemen with a German solider on a bicycle

Photographs of German soldiers with British policemen had propaganda value for the Germans.

"Ellie thought about Billy (her brother) back in Jersey. Images of men in uniforms with guns flashed through her mind and she felt a cold rush of fear. Billy was pretty patriotic and he knew how to stand up for himself: would he fight back? He could get hurt or killed." Interrogating Ellie


Ellie's grandmère came to the island in the 1890s from northern France and set up a dressmaking business.

"her Grandmère was too busy running her dressmaking shop to look after her and her brother Billy, so she’d put them with the Lebrocqs, who had looked after them. As children every now and again she and Billy had been brought over to Grandmère Picot’s house, dressed in their best clothes. They sipped lemonade in the garden, keeping as quiet as mice, listening to the old lady, dressed in black crêpe, belching after a meal of rabbit braised in red wine, a phonograph playing Beethoven in the background." Interrogating Ellie.

Grandmere compressed


They took the bus up to Grève de Lecq on their days off... Ellie found herself remem­bering a trip she’d made there with Michael, Eva, James and Billy, when they had found a conger eel on the beach and brought it home to eat. 

Greve-de-Lecq compressed

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