Faces of oc­cu­pied Jersey re­vealed

Iden­tity cards cre­ated dur­ing the dark days of Jersey’s Nazi oc­cu­pa­tion be­tween 1940-1945 have been digi­tised and made avail­able on­line for the first time

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - ON THE RECORD -

Thou­sands of peo­ple who lived through the Nazi oc­cu­pa­tion of Jersey dur­ing the Se­cond World War are recorded in a new on­line re­lease.

Jersey Her­itage has scanned thou­sands of Oc­cu­pa­tion Reg­is­tra­tion Cards from its ar­chive col­lec­tions, pro­vid­ing de­tails of men, women and chil­dren who lived on the is­land af­ter it was in­vaded by the Ger­man forces in June 1940.

Search­able by name, the dataset – which is avail­able to ex­plore at cat­a­logue.jer­sey­her­itage.org – com­prises more than 90,000 dig­i­tal im­ages, pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion about 30,000 peo­ple.

Among the fa­mous names in­cluded in the records is Peter Crill, who went on to serve as the Bailiff of Jersey be­tween 1986 and 1995.

Aged just 19 years old at the time his reg­is­tra­tion card was is­sued (a note on the re­place­ment de­scribes the orig­i­nal as ‘mu­ti­lated’), Crill is no­table for be­ing one of the few peo­ple to suc­cess­fully es­cape from Jersey dur­ing the Nazi oc­cu­pa­tion.

In the first week of Novem­ber 1944, the stu­dent lawyer and two friends se­cretly set out in his fam­ily’s 12-foot dinghy, even­tu­ally land­ing on the French main­land at Agon-Coutainville, near Coutances.

Oth­ers, how­ever, were not so lucky. Al­though there was no armed re­sis­tance move­ment on Jersey, more than 2,500 Jersey res­i­dents were sen­tenced for break­ing Ger­man laws, with some ex­e­cuted or sent to con­ti­nen­tal prison camps.

Held at Jersey Ar­chive in St He­lier, the im­por­tance of the col­lec­tion was recog­nised in 2011 by its ad­di­tion to the UNESCO Mem­ory of the World Reg­is­ter, mean­ing it sits along­side the Domes­day Book and the Ship­yards Col­lec­tion at Tyne & Wear Ar­chives in terms of in­ter­na­tional his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance.

While fam­ily his­to­ri­ans can search the data­base for free, scans of the cards can be down­loaded for £5 each. Al­ter­na­tively, users can pay an an­nual sub­scrip­tion to the web­site, of­fer­ing ac­cess to thou­sands of other his­toric records from the Crown De­pen­dency. This in­cludes parish and court records, as well as doc­u­ments sup­plied by pri­vate or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Jersey Swim­ming Club.

In ad­di­tion to the record re­leases, the Jersey Her­itage web­site has also un­der­gone a re­design, en­abling eas­ier ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion about the is­land’s his­tory.

“We have an as­ton­ish­ing col­lec­tion of doc­u­ments and of­fi­cial records that have un­til now only been ac­ces­si­ble to peo­ple who phys­i­cally visit the Ar­chive,” said Linda Romeril, Head of Ar­chives and Col­lec­tions at Jersey Her­itage.

“Over the past few years we have worked tire­lessly to bring that data into the 21st cen­tury by digi­tis­ing it and mak­ing it avail­able to search. The pro­ject is on­go­ing and we will be adding more to the re­source.”

cat­a­logue.jer­sey­her­itage.org

Above: Is­lan­ders cel­e­brate the lib­er­a­tion of Jersey in May 1945 Right: Peter Crill’s iden­tity card

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