A series of eerie photographs showing the channel island of Jersey under Nazi occupation during World War Two have been discovered in a local market in Germany.
The disconcerting photos provide an insight into how the rest of the UK might have looked if the country had failed to fight off the Nazis.
Jersey’s traditional cobbled streets are shown to be shockingly decked out with swastikas and German signage, while a uniformed British policeman is pictured standing to attention – as if receiving orders from a Nazi officer – while other German military look on.
The pictures were discovered by Bart Verstraeten, a 23-year-old trainee para-commando medic in the Belgian military, and German handwritten notes on the back of the photos suggest they were taken by one of the occupying soldiers.
I have a history blog and am always seeking new material to show to the world and educate people on their history in order to preserve it. The photographs show the swastika of the Third Reich, marking the occupation and civilian sympathy for the regime. You also see men with a swastika armband, they are probably secret German police as they seem to be close to the British policemen.
The island was occupied by the Germans from July 2, 1940, when Hitler ordered it to be converted into an ‘impregnable fortress’ and thousands of slave workers from across Europe and North Africa were brought in to build fortifications.
Jersey law and government were permitted to continue, however the German State Police – the infamous GESTAPO – had a branch on the island and often carried out indiscriminate questioning and searching of civilians and their homes.
The islanders were finally freed on May 9, 1945, when HMS Beagle sailed into St Helier – Jersey’s capital – with a Task Force to reclaim the Channel Islands.
People can’t imagine it exactly, but photographs and moving images do a better job taking you back in history.These are rare images showing how life was during occupation and need to be shown.