Alderney Holocaust and Slave Labour Trail
(c) Marcus Roberts 2014.

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When the Nazis first occupied Alderney with a small force, it could not have been anticipated at the time that the island would effectively become one giant slave labour camp with many thousands of captives culled from countries across three continents, nor that the island would be host to the western-most SS concentration camp in Europe, Camp Sylt. Furthermore, the island witnessed great human suffering and death, on a large scale (as perhaps as many as 50 - 85% of all the prisoners died on, or off, the island), with the island also becoming a staging post of the Holocaust. Many hundreds of Jewish captives were on the islands working and suffering in the most abject conditions of all. Some died on the island and many were then sent on to other camps, or for extermination in Auschwitz.

The historical record shows that the commandants, such as SS man List, specifically sent worked-out prisoners to be exterminated and knew the purpose of their transportation and sometimes commissioned the murder of larger groups of prisoners on the island by shooting and had been ordered to kill their prisoners in case of an Allied invasion. While the camps on the island were not intended to be extermination camps as such, they proved eminently suitable for killing large numbers of prisoner. It seems clear that most of the workers and prisoners were regarded as entirely inferior and expendable in the Nazi's master plan for Europe and that they would find only death at the end of their labours, at a time and place of the Reich's choosing, either on, or off, the island.

There are also accounts that groups of prisoners were thrown off several local cliffs and were effectively swept away by the tidal races of Alderney, thus the island needed no gas chambers or crematoria and we do not know how many prisoners were disposed of in this way on Alderney - one of the many secrets of Alderney.

This project was initiated in 2009 in partnership with Birmingham University as a project to identify, research, survey, interpret and memorialise 'lost' slave labour camps on the western fringe of Europe and the creation of the web-trail was funded from 2013 by a UK Jewish heritage foundation as a project researching and presenting slave labour camps and Holocaust histories in both Alderney and the Nord Pas de Calais.

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