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1. Corrugated Hut / Camp Site - La CorveeThe MI 19 Report notes that at No. 73. on the map, were, 'Well dressed lines of low corrugated iron, semi-circular huts, each about 6 ft high. Informants do no know what is in them.'
An examination of a WWII aerial photograph shows that these huts were adjacent to a building identified as a 'Power Station' and were very neatly constructed on well-made concrete spur roads. The huts were 15m x 5m approximately. It is also clear that there were other buildings directly adjacent to the west, so collectively, there were a linked concentration of buildings of strategic importance.
It is entirely possible that some of the these building were used as a camp which has not been previously recognised and certainly there is likely to have been a labour contingent attached to a site such as a Power Station, and are also only 300m south of the Le Val Camp, though they could also be used for other military materials.
Significant elements of the site still persist, at ground level, including the concrete spur roads which appear to be just under the grass, as may be seen from the aerial photography and would reward further study.
2. OT Camp and NSKK Camp - Essex CastleThe MI 29 report notes that the drivers for the OT on the island had a camp north of Essex Castle and at night their lorries were parked there and was visited in the evenings by 'girls' on the island.
However, the MI 19 report asserts that the drivers had actually taken over existing huts, so the implication is that this could have been used as a previously unidentified OT labour camp. The report states, 'All these huts are taken over by the O.T. for drivers'. This highly likely, as the other substantial tunnels on the island, were constructed only 200m way, into the face of an old quarry. These tunnels were reported in the MI 19 report as being 9 feet high and 8 feet wide, along with other tunnels just westwards. Such tunneling projects would have required a significant labour force, as noted earlier. The camp is at geolocation, 49.719072, -2.175817.
3. OT Camp (Debau) - La ValleeOT Camp and Debau Canteen
The MI 19 Report shows a former camp at No. 152 on the map and in the report. This camp may have been previously over-looked in accounts of the German activities on the island and has been located as part of the JTrails research.
The MI 19 report states,'This camp is now empty, was formerly an O.T. Camp and housed the "DEEBAU" canteen. The map arrows two adjacent sites which are directly adjacent, at geolocations 49.717986, -2.207756 and 49.717717, -2.207158. The buildings relate to existing property plots and groups of buildings and it may be that there are still remains of some buildings extant during the War. Today, site, 'B' in the MI 19 Report, is called 'Pine Trees' and there are three huts on the site, which correspond to the structures shown at site 'B' on the MI 19 Map and may well be preserved, or restored huts, of the WWII era.
It is not clear if this was a camp just for German OT personnel, though the presence of the canteen would support that, or if there were also slave workers on the site too. However, this is likely to have been a significant concern, as Debau (Deutsche Bau) A.G. was a very large, Berlin based construction concern, with many sub-contractors, specialising in harbour installations, underground and concrete constructions (see OT Handbook). This camp and contractor would have been ideally positioned for working on both the harbour works nearby, as well as the tunnels, or any potential secret works. Again, we have here every indication that there was an intensive early construction phase on the island, with camps and commandos which have not been fully documented.
4. Small German Farm at 'La Picaterre'The Germans also kept a farm, part of the OT Farm operation, at 'La Picaterre'. The MI 19 report describes it as a small pig farm at a location which is also described as a 'small German farm', on the Royal Engineer's Map at Geolocation, 49.719472, -2.209789, south of the end of the Route de Picaterre. The two buildings identified in the MI 19 map as in German use, at the south of the plot, are still extant. It is probable that a small number of slave workers were accommodated at the farm as a kommando.
5. Mill Farm (near Bonne Terre)Pantcheff notes that Mill Farm (near Bonne Terre) was part of the OT Farm operation, though in fact it was occupied throughout the War by Frank Oselton, who had agreed to, or asked to be, 'wired in' by the Germans and to confined himself to his farm, with a female companion and help provided by a Mr Clark.
Oselton's wife and children had been evacuated to England and he had has a small herd of 14 Alderney breed dairy cows and a bull to which he was evidently devoted and bartered milk with the Germans, for bread and provisions.
Pancheff's identification of this as one of the OT farms is correct, in so far as towards the end of the War, when conditions were difficult on the island, the Germans started to requisition his produce rather than buy it. It seems that Oselton's motivation for requesting to go back to Alderney (having been initially evacuated to Guensey) at an early stage of the German occupation, was to preserve the Alderney breed of cows and he thought that there was something of a plot by Guernsey men to use the occupation to finish the breed in favour of their own cows, and he may well be responsible for having preserved the colourful Alderney cows that still grace the island.
The farm is located at 49.719000, -2.215272 and is private property.
6. Camp or Kommando for German Political Prisoners - Longis RoadThe MI 19 Report notes that at position no. 66 on its map, '30 Political prisoners in these two houses'.
The precise location of these houses was at geolocation, 49.713794, -2.196633, on the south side of Longis Road. This location is over 600m south of Newtown Camp and seems to be another small camp. Its proximity to the 'Power Station' and the corrugated hut / camp site, 300m, westwards is potentially significant and it may have been part of this complex.
7. The OT Farm Camp (Mignot Farm)The OT Farm and Camp has been identified by JTrails research, was at geolocation 49.711975, -2.212581, i.e. at the junction of Le Grand Val and Alee es Fees and a wartime aerial photograph shows that there was a rectangular grouping of buildings, some erected by the Germans, on a pad of concrete at the main site. Some of this concrete appears to be extant and marks another unrecorded camp and its remains on the island. The Germans also worked a number of other sites, as farms, across the island. Workers were billeted at each farm as a Kommando or small camp, or sub-camp, for a particular purpose and these small camps had a permanent character and increase the number of camps that may be understood to have existed on the island, over the main camps noted already.
These camps also involved a smaller, but not insignificant number of men. In January 1943, the OT Haupttruppfuhrer Johann Hoffmann gave a break-down of the numbers of forced labourers across the camps on Alderney. This number included 200 Russians dispersed outside the main camps, on sites across the island, though this number would have gone up or down according to requirements and for various reasons the labour figures should not be regarded as quantitatively reliable. There were also smaller groups of Political prisoners held in huts and houses at different locations on the island, outside of the main camps and these were effectively small camps. There were also a number of Britons working on these sites as well.
British Intelligence reports also relate that these farms were sites of psychological cruelty, terror and murder, though it is unlikely that the full extent of the atrocities on the farms will ever be known.
However, in a statement by Johann Burbach, he reports that O/Gefr. Kraus, who had worked at the OT Farm since its inception, reported to him that, 'it will be an eye opener when all he has tell about the Farm became known.'
For example they relate in 1943 how three Russians were challenged to stop after stealing food from the fields at the OT Farm. Two were shot dead after continuing to run and a third was caught and handed over to the OT.
Another similar incident occurred at Jennings Farm in 1943 - one of the military employees at the farm saw a group of Russians in the fields and fired upon them from a window, killing one of the Russians.
In another incident a dead Russian was found dead in a hay-loft in belonging to the Island Farm in St Martin's Street, cause of death unknown.
Gordon Prigent of Jersey, was labelled as an undesirable by the Germans, due to problems in his workplace and sent to work on the OT Farm in November 1943, with local man, Walter Gallichan. Prigent was eventually transferred to work in the Soldatenheim, where he got himself in trouble for listening to the radio and refused to return to the OT farm, where upon he was sent to Nordeney camp. It appears that he resumed his work on the farm, as he was beaten with a spade at Nordeney, because he spaced the holes for planting cabbages correctly and this incident seems to be indicative of treatment of workers at the farm. The MI 19 Report states that the farm (no. 122) was mostly used British labour.
8. Le Val Camp and TunnelsThe eye-witness account of the Belgian volunteer labourer, Norbert Beernaert, reveals a presence of a small camp maintained for the benefit of high-value German civilian technical military specialists, which was behind the diary in Le Val. This report also gives some basis for the claim that the tunnels may have been initially intended for secret purposes, even if those plans were not carried out, but the tunnels built.
He states, 'One day we had a visit by a German Commission who inspected the camp and asked questions about our work. I spoke German in reply since I had been in the island since December 1940. They took me away to a small camp behind the diary in Le Val, and I was cooking there for German civilians, not Germans in uniform. I think that they were specialist, important men, because I had better food there than I ever had in my life. Real coffee: at this moment I was making chips every day and cakes. We had live geese brought from Cherbourg. Then suddenly in December 1943, they moved everything , the Germans and me, over to Cherbourg at 22 rue de la Boucaille ... afterwards I discovered they were specialists in 'buzz bombs' - I was cooking here in Alderney and then in Cherbourg for men who were making the bases for 'buzz-bombs'!
In terms of location, the States Diary was present after the war at precise geo-location 49.715511, -2.202542 thus this camp was only a short distance away, it is stated to have been just to the east in an area that is now a timber or storage yard and the concrete surface may well be a survival of the camp site.
The extensive tunnel system is not far away. The construction of the size of tunnels claimed would have necessitated a large work-force, of at least 1,200 to 1,500 men. Since there appears to be no surviving prisoner testimony relating to the building of the tunnels, emanating from the main identified camps, it is highly likely that a separate camp was maintained for this force and that they died, or were killed, in the course of construction, or were moved and liquidated. Furthermore it probable that such a work force was Jewish. The empty Beaverboard camp next to Newtown, might have accommodated some or all these workers as there is no other account for its use, but another unidentified site should not be ruled out. It is a matter of speculation where deceased prisoners were disposed of and again, the breakwater is a likely location, though logically, under the great heaps of spoil in the valley is also highly possible(geolocation of the tunnels and spoil heap location given by MI 19 as, 49.716828, -2.200178.
Explorations of the limited remaining accessible sections of tunnels is potentially hazardous as there are rock-falls and instability, as portions of the tunnel were deliberately blocked at the end of the War.
9. Fort Clonque - Slave Labour and Execution SiteFort Cloque on the very westernmost tip of Alderney was an existing fort which was used by the Germans. The Germans provided electric power to the site. They used slave labour to build a causeway to the island in late 1942 and the dates are inscribed in the concrete. One, at the fort end of the causeway bears the monogram of the 3rd Company of Engineer Construction Battalion 158 and the date 'LXII.42'.
While it is commonly said that the majority of German soldiers on the island were not aware of the true treatment and fate of the slave workers, one of the NCO's of this battalion is on record as having witnessed the inhuman beating of exhausted, starving prisoners and their desperate attempts to forage food by digging entrails up from behind the slaughter house.
There are many sites on Alderney from which, it is stated by former slave-labourers, that prisoners would be thrown off the cliffs into the sea, not only dead, but sometimes alive too. This was also the case at Fort Clonque.
Prisoner Prokop describes what he experienced at Fort Cloque: 'There was a little fortress on a rock and there the SS prison guards would throw prisoners over the cliff, which I suppose was about 150 to 250 feet high.'
Today the fort is promoted as holiday location and for its accommodation, such that a journalist who stayed there opined in an article headed, Alderney: 'The fun of the fort', that it was a perfect location to get, 'that Alderney Feeling'. Irony does not come richer!
Fort Clonque is located at geo-location 49Â°42'49.02"N 2Â°13'57.66"W.
10. St Anne'sThe principal settlement and 'capital' of the island is St Anne's and while here there are few visible reminders of the German Occupation one of the most obvious is the Luftwaffe Tower, at Les Mouriaux. However, St Annes's was also the site of one of the minor camps, Citadella Camp.
11. Citadella Camp - HautevilleRemarkably, there is also a reference to many 'Arabs' being present on Alderney, many of whom were Moroccans and Berbers and were Muslims. One of the 'Arabs' was in fact a North African Jew.
The Moroccans were Prisoners of War and were colonial troops who had formed a significant part of the French army and were among the many thousands of colonial troops from Africa captured during the Fall of France in 1940. Various trophy photographs taken by regular German troops survive of captured Moroccans. Some of the Moroccan troops were killed in France and in one incident the SS killed 33 Moroccans. Others were forced to labour for the Germans and the Nuremberg War Trials transcripts record, 'The number of North African workers (from Morocco and Algeria), enrolled in the Todt Organization, mostly working in Northern France, or the Channel Islands, totalled 17,582.' by 1942.'
Early on in the history of the occupation of Alderney, there was a camp, or at St Annes, the Citadella Camp, though at some point the North Africans were distributed among the other camps and there were 'Arabs' at both Nordeney and Helgoland Camps and there were about 80 'Arabs' in the latter camp.
Kondakov also notes the notorious incident when Abdulla (or 'Osset') who was at Helgoland Camp, was crucified by the SS on the gates of Lager Sylt, for violence and his second attempt at escape.
Citadella appears to have been a short-lived camp and the Moroccans were kept in a group of billets in St Anne's, bounded on the west by Hauteville, to the South by La Venelle Jeanette, to the east, by Marie Jean Bott at precise geolocation 49.712929, -2.208064. Davenport shows five properties used as this camp in his map of St Anne's, though the MI 19 Report of 1943 stated that all of the houses in the block were used for this camp.
Little seems to be known about the camp, or what work the POWs were engaged in. The camp was identified by a Red Cross representative, Alfred Herzka and Bonnard suggests that it may also have been a reception camp. Bonnard states that the Moroccans were later transferred to another camp near to the newly-built German bakery in Le Vallee (see Moroccan Camp (No. 2).
12. Moroccan Camp (No. 2) - Le ValleeBonnard states that the Moroccans were later transferred from Citadella Camp, to another unnamed camp, near to the newly-built German bakery in Le Vallee. The site of the bakery was at the very southern end of La Vallee, on the eastern side, at precise geo-location 49.716897, -2.204969, and a bakery and warehouse at this site are evident on local maps well after the War.
13. New Town Camp and CampsThe camp at Newtown was the sites of one or more camps and was used from early 1942, when Jewish forced labour and German political prisoners worked in the docks and the New Town area and were housed at the camp or in the near vicinity and represent the first phase of the use of prisoner and Jewish slave-labour on the island.
The main witness for the camp was Frederick Doyle, an Irish neutral who remained on the island during the War and who recalled in a post-war interview, that when he came back from Guernsey in 1942, there were a small number of slaves present on the Island, the vanguard of what was to come. These slaves were mostly French Jews from local districts of France, as well as some German political prisoners. They mainly worked in the works in the harbour, also as Dockers and on the building of the machine shops and on the construction of the Lower Road. They were billeted in empty houses in Newtown, at least at the very beginning, which had been wired in, with a sentry at the gate.
The condition of the prisoners was poor, as they had little clothing, some were practically naked and wore sacks with holes cut out for sleeves. Doyle stated that they were not badly treated as they had their liberty during the day and they were largely ignored by the German soldiers. There are no reports as to mortality among this early Jewish prisoner group, though it is clear that members of other prisoner cohorts were suffering and dying throughout 1942, as is indicated in the burials in St Anne's Church Yard.
The treatment of prisoners significantly worsened once Captain Carl Hoffman took over the defence works at Alderney and massively increased the pace of fortification building to a fever pitch and received ship loads of slaves from July 1942, to carry out his plans on behalf of Hitler having been promised every resource to fulfil his objectives.
The location and disposition of the main camp is firstly shown on the MI 19 report and intelligence map of October 1943, which notes the 'empty' camp of 'beaverboard huts' surrounded by barbed wire (at geolocation, 49.718835, -2.195805), as well as the compound which contained the former dismantled OT sawmill, ran by 'Deubau' (Deutschebau A. G.), just to the North West. This latter compound is shown on the map with a number of long buildings on the north-side of the compound. This confirms the assertion that the camp was closed at an early date, in 1942 or 1943 and the MI 19 intelligence report was adamant that 'Newtown appears derelict and uninhabited. The gas works are abandoned. Only one or two cottages are inhabited'. The camp is also shown on the 1945 Royal Engineer's Map of Alderney. It marks a 'Camp' in Newtown at geo-location 49.719522, -2.197272 (the sawmill location), as well as the Beaverboard Huts.
A couple of contemporary photographs exist of the environs of the Newtown camp, both of which show the beaver-board huts and several large open compounds secured with wire. The most relevant photograph shows the large and mainly empty main sawmill compound but with at least 6 industrial sheds around the edges of the compound quite closely corresponding to the ranges and locations of buildings shown in the MI 19 map. However the detail that the photograph adds, are other barbed wire compounds adjacent to the main compound, two small compounds have logs awaiting further processing and then there are stacks of sawn lumber next to the curve of the road next to the bay (probably the Rue de Beaumont). While the photograph is undated it appears to show the Newtown Camp during 1942-3 when it was in operation, or soon after.
As to the location of the Jewish section of the Newtown Camp, there is no certitude as to the exact location of the billets described by Doyle, which were probably in Newtown itself, not far from the saw mill site at the camp. The evidence suggests that they were probably just north of the Newtown Road itself (and the gasworks), at, or near to, the two occupied cottages noted by MI 19 in October 1943 (geo-location,49.719297, -2.199892) and around 100m NW of the Political Prisoners compound.
Alternatively, the photograph referred to previously, also appears to show houses that could answer the description of the Jewish billets. In the foreground of this photograph, taken from the western side of the saw mill, and a little further north of the Newtown Road, there is a nucleated cluster of 3-4 houses close to the sawmill compound. These houses were probably adjacent to the house known today as 'Peacehaven'. The houses seem to be within the barbed wire enclosures and barbed-wire gates are next to the houses. It is of interest that in the small close next to the houses, a worker in civilian clothes is sitting on the grass and could be one of the civilian or forced labourers and most Jewish slave workers wore their own clothes.
A local resident notes that these houses in the picture were to the right of 'Peaceheaven', which was built by the Germans and slave labour, and which property was the location of the signing for the peace treaty. He also notes that the image shows the site before the 'Polish hut' was built, and that, 'in the attic of the roof, the wood work has a Jewish star carved into it, and which must been built by Jewish slave labour'.
The intelligence material does also confirms that there was a segregated camp for political prisoners, at or next to the Newtown Camp. The MI 19 map shows that there was a hut containing German Political prisoners only next to and north of the Newtown Road, at geo-location 49.718756, -2.198653. The report states of location no. 63, 'this hut contains a contingent of political prisoners. Barbed wire all round.'
The evidence shows that the Newtown Camp was approximately north and north-east of the former island Gas Works. The main worksite and saw mill was to the north-east along the coastal road, whereas the prisoners, civilian workers and personnel, were housed in segregated and wired-off billets and hutments in the corridor of land south of the railway and north of the Newtown Road, north and opposite the gasworks, close to their sawmill. It is not known whom occupied the beaverboard huts, but they may well have been used for Jewish prisoners and could potentially be linked to the tunnel excavations nearby.
In terms of its location in the modern street pattern, main compound and the sawmill site, is on the block of land on the north side of the New Town Road, and just west of prominent bluff forming 'Le Banquage'. The former beaverboard huts were sandwiched between the railway line just to the north and the Newtown Road just to the south, around what is today the 'Clos de Mer' residential street and the industrial buildings extending further east from the 'Clos de Mer'.
14. Helgoland Camp, Camp no. 1. - Route de Picaterre, Platte Saline BayHelgoland was an OT Camp with a capacity for c. 1,500 labourers and came to house a significant number of Russian forced labourers. Some of the labourers were 'volunteers' (ostarbeiter) who came to earn extra money and were both in Helgoland and Norderney camps, though in reality the Germans has removed most other options from them. It was erected in the centre of the Platte Saline Bay south of the Route de Picaterre. Both Helgoland and Norderney Camp are understood to have been completed by mid-1942 and before this the prisoners were temporarily accommodated in empty houses.
The camp was surrounded with wire on concrete posts and contained plank huts paved around with grey slag, some of which were partly sunken in the ground for shelter. The huts contained two storey plank bed in pairs with a narrow passage between each pair and had mattresses and pillows made of twisted paper. Prisoners had to use fern which grew between the huts, to fill the mattresses and pillows. The huts were only heated, by a stove during the day when the prisoners were at work!
The prisoners wore their own cloths, and these mostly went to rags and prisoner mostly had to improvise clothing using blankets and cement sacks, rope and pieces of wire and their hair was long, and un-cut, tangled and matted with concrete.
Prisoners were assigned to a number of companies, including, Stassenbau A.G. (or 'Strabag') and Debau, Westdeutsche, Kniffer, Deutchebau, A. G. Sager and Werner. Work-sites for the prisoners included the Battery Quarry and the stone plant near the harbour. Kondakov and other prisoners also constructed a new road from what Kondakov relays as 'Wattegates' (= Whitegates), to Fort Albert. Whitegates is the road junction on the railway 0.5km SE of Fort Albert, so this construction was the main road up to the fort.
The prisoners were encouraged to work with beatings with sticks and pick-axe handles and some would be kicked in the face for minor infringements. Running the gauntlet while being struck on the head was another punishment and prisoners were frequently killed if they failed to make the end of the corridor. Some were beaten to death as a result of these chastisements. For worse infractions prisoners would be sent to prison for shorter periods, usually 2-3 days. At the end of the working day prisoners were issued with a piece of coloured card with their name and number on which was exchanged for the meagre rations. At supper time they would receive a half loaf of bread every third or fourth day and be issued to with an inferior Soup'. At lunch they would also be given a very thin Bunker Soup at the work-site, which was often issued by the Black African employed at Norderney and who succeeded in terrifying both prisoners and SS men alike, with his temper and violence.
Many of the prisoners died of starvation and the sign of impending death was usually swelling of the body. Most suffered from vermin, particularly lice and fleas. Sometimes the prisoners would lie under blankets to lure the fleas, which would then 'jump over the blankets like rain beats against a roof'. The prisoners would then spring up and crumple the blankets and take them for disposal out-side. At Christmas 1942, Zyklon B gas was used to fumigate the huts.
At one point in 1942, the island was swarming with rats which over-ran the barracks to the point that prisoners were rewarded with cigarettes for catching or killing the rats and since ration of bread could be purchased with a single cigarette, prisoners became keen rat catchers. The camp was policed in part by trained Russians guards collaborating with the Germans, and like so many of the Kapo class elsewhere, often exceeded the Germans in violence towards the prisoners.
Survival depended on prisoners co-operating with each other, particularly by making small friendship groups, often with compatriots from the same region, or even town or village.
Initially, Helgoland Camp was used for Dutch and French workers and some women, prior to June / July 1942, as well as some German prisoners and when the first Russians arrived in Alderney, the Russians were sent to Helgoland as well as Norderney. The cohort is also understood to have contained a number of Red Spaniard (Spanish Republicans). At the end of 1942 German prisoners were also transferred to Borkum.
Jewish prisoners were also held at Helgoland. Witnesses including three Russian OT workers, stated that Jews were held at Helgoland before being transferred to Norderney in Feb. 1944. The MI 19 Report of 1943, entry no. 142, states categorically, 'HELGOLAND CAMP. This is the main camp for Jewish prisoners. Some French prisoners live here too. Armed O.T. guards.' Furthermore, the plan they give of Helgoland Camps, shows that the camp with its two groups of c. 11 huts, one to the west and one to the east and both are labelled as '142' to imply that all of the huts and camp was dedicated to Jewish prisoners. The number of huts could imply a Jewish presence of between 1,100, to 3,300 prisoners.
Kondakov also states that some of the 'Arabs' were housed at Helgoland, occupying half of Hut no. 6, and comprised approximately 80 men.
The Russians were in one half of Hut no. 6 (about 80 men), in Hut 7 (288 men), Hut 8, (320 men). Kondakov states that 1,000 Russians were at Helgoland.
One half of Hut 9, was a sick-bay and the other half a dead-hut for the dead (and sometimes not quite dead), before they were taken away for burial. One prisoner recalls narrowly avoiding being buried alive when he was severely ill. The only lavatory was near to Hut 9 and long queues of prisoners with diarrhoea caused by starvation or disease, would form out-side the door in the morning.
Prisoners were sometimes sent from Helgoland to Sylt for punishment. Johann Hoffmann, OT Commandant of Helgoland camp, stated that in early 1943, 70-75 'Russian' prisoners were transferred to Sylt. When released in December they were in a 'terribly emaciated' state and 10 to 15 died.
However, the survival rate for Russian prisoners was the highest in Helgoland partly due to the fact that some of the Russians worked in the Harbour and were able to steal and forage food from vessels being discharged. However, it was the report which went to Guernsey, that a Russian had died of 'under-nourishment' at the Camp at the end of 1942, beginning of 1943, which led to the Wehrmacht inspecting both Heligoland and Norderney camps and led to some sick prisoners being sent for genuine medical treatment on the main-land, though some died in transit.
The conditions at Helgoland and Norderney Camps were also described in a report by Basilov and Pantcheff:
'Breakfast was half a litre of [ersatz] coffee without milk or sugar, lunch was half a litre of watery cabbage soup plus 1 kg of bread between 5-6 people. Two or three times a week 25gr of butter was distributed, very rarely, if at all, sausage, cheese or fresh vegetables, meat and sugar never ... foreign workers were not given any additional clothing in winter. Foreign workers worked 12 hours a day hard construction work. At midday there was a short break of 10-30 minutes. This regime continued 7 days a week ... only 1 Sunday a month they had a half day.'
It may be added to this account that the construction of bunkers would often require the prisoners to work non-stop for 36 hours or more while the concrete was being poured. The prisoners called this type of work a 'wedding party', perhaps due to the long preparations needed to get all the materials into place and the intensive all-consuming work to complete it. During one bunker construction 6 men out of 150 were 'lost' during the work, though no-one knew where. It may be that they fell into the mouldings? Prisoners were then allowed to sleep for 2 days after a 'wedding party'.
OT Haupttruppf"hrer Johann Hoffmann stated that 'between September/October 1943 and January 1944, all the Russians except about 20 were evacuated from Helgoland Camp ... In March 1944, Helgoland camp was disbanded and transferred to Norderney'.
OT Haupttruppf"hrer Johann Hoffmann escaped punishment at the end of the War for his part in the suffering of prisoners on Alderney.
Little remains of the camp today, excepting the gate posts of the camp entrance which form the entry to modern-day suburban bungalows! The gates originally had the name of the camp in Gothic letters affixed upon them. These can be seen opposite Platte Saline Bay on the Route de Picaterre and can be recognised by the distinctive moulded concrete bases (for example outside Bungalow 'Quatrieme').
15. Execution Sites - Platte Saline Gravel PlantNear to the former site of Lager Helgoland is a beach-side mineral plant, probably used by the Germans for processing gravel for use in building works. The OT frequently had beach-side depots for sand gravel extraction. This one is distinguished by the presence of distinctive collections of bullet splash marks around chest level, on one wall, that probably mark another execution site. Another probable execution site is to be found nearby on a wall close to the Gravel Works. (Source: Alderney Holocaust and Slave Labour Trust).
16. Camp BorkumBorkum was an OT Labour Camp which Davenport states was largely for skilled workers, including Germans and volunteers from occupied countries and conditions here were better than the other camps with workers avoiding mistreatment. The camp accommodated around 500 - 1,000 workers. The camp was sited either side of a road leading SSE of the Longis Road, just 150m east of the junction of the Longis Road with Val Longis.
It is stated by witnesses, that Norderney and Helgoland were both completed by mid-1942. The prisoner cohort initially included Spanish Republicans. At the end of 1942 German workers were transferred to Borkum and Pantcheff stated in his 1946 report, that in 1943, Borkum was used primarily for German conscripted OT workers. Borkum also some held Dutch workers. Some women came to Borkum in 1944. The women employed officially as cooks and washerwomen, were often brought in by the OT to work in reality as prostitutes, and charged for their services and there were at least 100 employed by the OT, though venereal disease was rife on the island.
At the end of the War the British took over the camp and called it Camp Minerva.
The camp has some important visible remains. The concrete gate posts still survive on either side of the road to the 'impot' recycling centre and many of the concrete hut bases survive at the core of the camp, just SE of the gate, as well as other incidental concrete structures and bunkers around what may well have been the Appel Platz.
17. OT Camp and Lazarette - East of BorkumThe British situation map shows an additional OT camp at a location the Germans called 'Borkumhauser' around 400 NE of Lager Borkum, and further east along the Longis Road, south of its fork with the Route de Carrieres, and set around Barrackmaster's Lane, which is partly continuous with Lager Borkum. The nature of its occupants and use are not clear, though the camp was close to the house occupied by the superintendent of all of the OT works who was lodged at Essex House (now Devereux House) and there were additional huts and associated houses nearby as well as the OT Lazarette.
18. OT Lazarette Hospital - Longis Villas / Barrackmaster's LaneThe map also shows the OT Lazarette or hospital, adjoining and to the east of this camp. Overlay work suggests that as many as four buildings survive from the camp, or modern buildings occupy their foot print. A local guide also told us on our fieldwork visit that his home is the former OT hospital on the Longis Road and also two of the OT convalescent huts survive, but much altered on the Barrack Master's Lane. A concrete slab of an OT hut also survives next to (West) of nos. 1-2 Longis Villas.
One of the more remarkable stories attaches itself to the OT hospital. Madame Krylatova, who led a white Russian attempt to recruit Russian prisoners to fight for the Germans, came to Aldereny with an entertainment troupe. She was also, 'accompanied by a Greek Orthodox Priest in full regalia. They also visited the hospital where the informant (g) was sick bay attendant. He states that they called all the patients together to hold a service for the dead. The Russian prisoners, most of who have rarely, if ever, seen a religious service, were laughing whilst the incense was being burned and when the priest in conclusion invited them to kiss the cross, none would come up. This rather upset Madam Krylatova'.
19. Sylt CampThis camp was situated at what now the end of the runway of Alderney airport and all passengers flying into the island fly over the remains of the camp, just before touch-down.
Lager Sylt was initially an OT camp set up for both Jewish and Russian prisoners, between 1942 - 1944. It became an SS camp in 1943 - it was a sub-camp of Hamburg - Neuengamme concentration camp and the concentration camp prisoners arrived in the middle of 1943 and many were classed as political prisoners. The Jews were segregated in a special section of the camp. It has the notoriety of being both the only SS concentration camp on British soil and the most westerly concentration camp in Nazi Europe and has the most notorious reputation of all the camps on Alderney.
Kondakov felt that the camp was 'gloomy and ill-provided'. The prisoners mainly worked in West Batterie area for Company Neumauer, for 12 - 14 hours each day. The prisoners rose at 5.30am and had to wash in troughs in the open, collected their soup ration and were ready to work by 6.am. This work-site was very exposed and well-guarded with wire and mines and only a single entrance, which meant that prisoners could not readily forage other food. Kondakov, after the War only managed to find three survivors of this camp.
They also worked on road building and repair near a location Kondakov calls 'Turgy Fort' (probably Fort Tourgis, or 'Turkenburg' a strong point in a Victorian fort on the NW corner of the island, just west of Plat Saline Bay ), as well as cable laying. The latter task was one of the most difficult and heavy work as they had to fulfil massive quotas of excavation. It was also dangerous as in one incident 7 men were buried and killed under a collapse of 10m of sand at Braye Square. They also worked in the Quarry excavating granite, which was turned into road metal at the stone processing plant near the harbour and they also worked on the breakwater in the harbour.
German witnesses state also that there were Russians, Spaniards, Frenchmen, women and OT personnel as well as Russian Policemen at the camp. The Russian Policemen were hand-picked villains sent to Paris for special training as warders. Many of the Russians had been sent to the camp as a punishment from other camps. Prisoners were as elsewhere regularly beaten with rubber hoses.
The camp was notorious for its starvation of prisoners, more so that the other camps and they persisted for longer than the other camps in giving bread once a week.
The gates are infamous as an execution site - starving Russian POWs were crucified on the gates for alleged theft of food, or attempting to escape. In another case one of the 'Arabs' called Abdulla, attempted to escape for a second time. He had been sent to Sylt as a punishment from one of the other camps for violence, as it had been arranged by the OT to use Sylt as a correctional facility for its own reactionaries, and some 60 prisoners has suffered this fate. On his first escape he had violently resisted the guards; on his second escape he was found sitting on the stones at the sea-shore and was taken with no resistance. He was crucified on the camp gate as his punishment and it may be noted that Abdulla was in all probability a Muslim victim of the Nazis.
Prisoners were often forced by dogs across the wire by the SS, and shot by the sentries, if they disliked them. One German stated that in the two months he visited the camp there were 10 such cases.
The camp was placed under control of SS Baubrigade and sub-camp of Neuengamme, from 1 March 1943 and transportations to extermination camps commenced in July. '1,000 prisoners were initially transferred to Sylt from Sachsenhausen concentration camp including 500 Russians, 130 Poles, 60 Dutch, 20-30 Czechs, 20 French, and 180 German 'work-shy', criminals and political prisoners.'
The arrival of this group of prisoners made a powerful impression on the other prisoners. The Baubrigade arrived at the harbour and it seemed to the other prisoners that the slaves of the Baubrigade has been chosen for their stature and strength and looked at that point well-fed and all were in their striped grey KZ pyjamas with different coloured insignia - strips, triangles, numbers attached to indicate their prisoner status. They filed in a great column, two by two, flanked by their guards and SS men, to occupied Sylt Camp.
At this point 300 OT slaves remained in the camp and were segregated into three separate huts from the SS prisoners, but were moved out by May to Helgoland, once the SS prisoners had cleaned and restored the camp and added barbed wire and watchtowers.
An examination of the ITS database also reveals an important new fact - while the conventional histories of the camp associate it only with Baubrigade I, the 'Catalogue of camps and prisons in Germany and German Occupied Territories, July 1949' in the ITS is quite categorical that an additional thousand prisoners from Baubrigade II, were transferred to Alderney in May 1943, as the result of orders on 28.3.43, as well and were given new serial numbers. Also, prisoner, A. Wegmann, described as a reliable 'anti-Nazi' by MI19 stated that the Baubrigade was composed of Jewish prisoners as forced labour, while he worked there from March 1943 to June 1944. If this is correct, then the number of Jews on the island may well have exceeded 2,100 in number and raises the potential mortality rate considerably.
The discipline in the SS camp was severe. Prisoners could be heavily beaten for a lost button or torn jacket, or killed for having a louse found on them and public executions took place regularly in the camp.
Prisoners were paradoxically obliged to have baths and it maybe that the underground ablutions block dates from the SS period of the camp and could well have been used by the prisoners. They were also it is claimed, better fed, being given half a loaf of bread a day, though their labour was even more extreme than for the OT workers.
Sylt, with Norderney Camp, was the centre of the worst abuses and deaths of prisoners. The death rate at Sylt has been asserted as being around 70%.
Most of the Russians were withdrawn from the camp by February 1944 and this left some 900 political prisoners at Sylt.
The site of the camp is almost impossible to miss because it is just off the end of the runway for the island's airport and you have to fly over it just before you touch-down! From the ground the camp is approached from the west by a track or road skirting around and behind the airport which is left off the road just before the Telegraph Tower.
It has some dramatic remains which makes this exposed and windy site of considerable and international heritage importance.
Most notably the three gate pillars of the SS Concentration Camp survive intact and were the site of crucifixions of Russians and at least one Muslim North African.
A plaque was attached to one of the gates in 2008 at a ceremony attended by two of the only survivors of the camp and their families.
The plaque reads:
'THESE GATE POSTS MARK
THE ENTRANCE TO THE FORMER
GERMAN CONCENTRATION CAMP
'S.S. LAGER SYLT'
SOME 100 PRISONERS DIED HERE
MARCH 1943 AND JUNE 1944
THIS PLAQUE WAS PLACE BY
EX PRISONERS AND THEIR FAMILIES
There are several concrete hut platforms surviving, though they are increasingly grown over, though one is in good condition next to the track leading to the gate. This appears to be one of the former SS huts in the SS compound just west of the main gates (with an SS concrete shelter surviving close by) and were with the 'Commandant's Villa', the only surviving buildings on the site at the end of the War. Some of the huts were sunken 1.5m into the ground for protection from the wind as well as blast protection. Some huts in Pas de Calais were also sunken in identical fashion.
There are two conical sentry posts, one set in dense undergrowth, though one is more easily accessible next to one of the out-laying airport buildings. The one in the dense undergrowth, I was informed, has one of the few physical evidences of the Jewish prisoner presence on the island, as there is a small Star of David moulded into the concrete. However, this is probably only accessible in the winter when the encroaching vegetation has died down. There are two small personnel bunkers also still on site.
One of the most dramatic remains is a tunnel which connects the site of the 'Commandant's House' and its terrace, with the main body of the camp via an under-ground room with a large basin in it, thought by some to be an ablutions block and one rises up by some concrete steps through vegetation to the main camp area.
The villa is set a little lower than the main camp shelter in a small chine (the Val Emauve) directly over-looking the sea, a pleasant location, close to, but out of sight of the camp. The foundations and terrace for the commandant's villa can still be seen, albeit very over-grown next to the entrance of the tunnel. The commandant's villa itself actually survives and was moved just post-war for islander accommodation at the end of the war down towards Longis Common.
It is said that the Villa was designed for, or by, the Commandant, Maximilian List, who was an architect in Berlin before he joined the SS and was in charge of several camps including Lager Duisburg and moved to Sylt direct from Neuengamme concentration camp. British intelligence stated that he gave orders for the prisoners to be treated brutally and indeed his commissioning letter direct from Himmler makes it clear that he was expected to show harsh unswerving SS discipline and to shoot prisoners at the first sign of trouble in case of an invasion.
It is asserted that List had the chalet built in imitation of Adolf Hitler's Berghof, though it is also argued probably correctly, that the chalet that survived the War was not his residence, but the former SS Brothel. The provision of brothels were a regular part of SS concentrations camps, and were used to make money for the SS, reward soldiers or favoured prisoners and to avert the feared risk of homosexuality. They were often built of wood in a homely vernacular style, exactly the style of this building.
List later took control of Lager Norderney. In June 1943, workers being deported back to Neuengamme escaped, and he was subject to a disciplinary enquiry in September 1943. List left the island in March 1944 and was sent to Oslo as an SS commander and at the end of the War escaped justice even though a case citing Alderney had been prepared against him. It is thought that he died near his home near Hamburg in the 1980s.
20. Norderney Camp (Camp no. 2) - Saye BayeNorderney Camp was just inland of Saye Bay and beach and was a camp for slave labourers, mainly Russians, French, Czech, Dutch and Spanish, as well as some German volunteers. It had a maximum capacity of 1,500 housed in wooden huts built by a Belgium company and workers. It also had Jews as well as 'Arabs' from Algeria and Morocco working for the OT. Some or all of these had arrived in a convoy from Compiègne, on September 9, 1943. There were also women in the camp in separate barracks. There were as many as 27 different nationalities represented in the camp, a common-wealth of suffering.
The French Jews according to the witness statement of T. Misiewicz, arrived in mid-1943, when he and other prisoners had been moved from Norderney to Helgoland to make room for the French. The testimony of Reuven Freidman, suggests that there may have been 800 Jews in the camp.
The Jews were, as was normally the case, segregated in a camp within the camp, with its own gates, with its own canteen (and the Jews received the least food) which was mostly ran by SS man Truppfu. Ewertz and also SS Untersurnführer/OT Hauptruppführer Adam Adler. Ewertz (or Evas) is identified in intelligence documents as one of the chief torturers of the Jews when they were moved into Norderney Camp and frequently beat Jews to death. Adler was a Nazi stalwart, as he was number 33 in the Nazi party - many camp leaders were Nazi diehards, and other staff tended to be those who were too old for active service, or were disabled by wounds, or were defectives'. The mortality rate of the Jewish cohort in this and other camps means that there are few testimonies of Jewish inmates of these camps.
Albert Eblagon recalls his terrifying arrival at Norderney from France, before entering the verminous barracks assigned to them: 'We arrived at night and disembarked on 15 August 1943, at three o'clock in the morning. In the darkness we were forced to run the two kilometres to Camp Norderney, while the German guards continuously stabbed into our backs with their bayonets while also kicking us all the time'.
Eblagon also recalls that the Jews and other prisoners were subject to the most exacting conditions mainly working in concrete: 'There were many men among us over seventy years of age but nobody was spared. Work, hard physical work for twelve and fourteen hours a day, every day, building the fortifications. Every day there were beatings and people's bones were broken, their arms or their legs. People died from overwork. We were starved and worked to death, so many died from total exhaustion.' From time to time prisoners who fell into the concrete castings as they were being poured, would not be rescued as the Germans did not want to stop the machinery and would become part of the fortification. These conditions were replicated in the Jewish camps in the Nord Pas de Calais.
Remarkably some of the older Jewish prisoners managed to pray in secret and managed to conceal kippot (skull caps), prayer-shawls, and candles for Friday night (Shabbat). It may be noted that Jews often sought to carry-out prayer and ritual in many of the concentration camps and obtained the materials to do so.
The Jewish prisoners here (and across the Channel in France) wore civilian clothing, with the Jewish Star painted on their back, and a white stripe painted down the side of each trouser leg, a marking renewed each day from barrels of paint at the camp gate.
The Russians arrived in June / July 1942 and were distributed among Norderney and Helgoland camps.
Some of the prisoners were overseen by Russian Police who were cruel to the prisoners. In one case a father and son were in the camp and the son joined the police and would show no mercy to his own father and would beat him severely. One Russian Policeman, Toli Kosoi, specialised in kicking prisoners in the face and would sometimes stand on a chair to do this. He also joined in the 'hunting party' seeking out prisoners to attack, if they delayed getting back to camp.
One of personalities who stood out at Norderney (and was part of the notorious hunting party) and had a notorious reputation was a black French man or Black African employed and trained to work at the camp by SS men Karl Dietz and Eberts (the camp leaders). Dietz trained him to carry out the camp floggings and he would also go with Dietz (nick-named 'Raus' by the inmates because he regularly shouted this order) and a Russian Policeman in the camp to 'hunt' prisoners lagging behind on the way back to camp foraging for food (or begging it from the German soldiers) and Kondakov relates, 'those who fell in sight of these three usually became disfigured corpses in a few minutes' and Shuller relates that late returnees to the camp would be beaten with rubber hoses. There are a number of accounts about him, such was the impression he made on both prisoners and SS as he terrified both and was one of the cruellest men in the camp. He was a man of great stature and strength, employed to work at the kitchen and as a butcher and to distribute Bunker Soup at the work-place. He could pick up one of the great urns filled with 35l of soup with one hand, with no visible effort. On one occasion a prisoner came back for Bunker Soup a second time at the work-place and incurred his wrath and he killed him with a single blow to the head with the soup ladle - the man died in two hours. He would also habitually beat prisoners for any infringements in the vicinity of the kitchen. One prisoner who was caught trying to get waste peas out of a barrel, was drawn over to the African by a German and given a beating that he considered to be the worst experience of his life and the beatings that day, of him and a Ukrainian, left blood all over the kitchen. Another prisoner reported barely surviving being hit in the chest by a plank. Even the SS were frightened of him and he would even argue with them. However, when his SS mentor and employer Dietz was removed for theft of food, and black-marketeering of cigarettes and 'illegal purchases' of watches, etc., from the Dutch prisoners, and was sentenced to one and a half years of penal servitude, he became vulnerable and a group of SS attempted to punish him in an isolated room. A great fracas broke put and he was only subdued, shot and killed, after killing one SS and crippling several others. His story shows how the line between the oppressed and the oppressor was often a fine one.
The prisoners worked for 10 - 12 hours a day on a diet of thin soup a small portion of bread and butter and ersatz coffee. Prisoners had to resort to begging, stealing, or forging their daily food coupon to get additional food, particularly as some prisoners at the end of the line for food in the canteen would get nothing.
The Russian prisoners were mostly poorly clothed and many were in rags with concrete sacks wrapped around their legs as all of their clothes were worn out and the OT companies only rarely provided new clothing for inmates, which in any case was completely inferior in quality.
The main work-sites were the Battery Quarry (for Company Westdeutsche). Battery Quarry (the Granite Quarry) over-looks Braye Bay and is next to the railway.
The camp had a barrack with 20-30 beds used as a 'hospital', though in reality it was an ante-chamber for death as it was mostly filled with dying prisoners. At the height of the deaths in the camp, some 12 prisoners were dying each day.
The men were threatened with death in case of Allied invasion in the Arch Bay Tunnel as the island commanders and List had been instructed to kill KZ prisoners in this event. The tunnel in Norderney has a most sinister significance as it was intended that in the case of invasion the prisoners would be walled-in to exterminate them and there was rehearsals where prisoners were herded in to test its potential at the point of a machine-gun. It has been noted that Zyklon B gas was on the island and used as a fumigant anti-vermicide, though it is not clear if it was on hand for more sinister purposes. In March 1944 the camp received the remaining labourers from Helgoland Camp when the latter was destroyed.
The Russians were deported in September to October 1943 and January 1944. The Red Cross also recorded that two groups of Jews and North Africans, each of around 200 men were, 'transferred from Norderney Camp to an unknown destination because they were unable to work' in January and March 1944.
Other Jews, Moroccans and Frenchmen were deported in June 1944, after D Day, some were sent to Lager Tibor, at Dannes, near Boulogne in the Pas de Calais. The major transportation of some 800 Jews from Norderney left Alderney on 6-7 May 1944, they disembarked at Cherbourg and were entrained via Boulogne towards Neuengamme concentration camp, though some managed to escape near Boulogne with the help of French railway workers and other escapes were made along the line. The remaining prisoners found themselves diverted by Allied bombing to Hazebrouck, where the youngest prisoners were taken to Lager Tibor, at Dannes, to work repairing bomb damage and the oldest to Lager Braunek at the Lycee Mariette in Boulogne.
On 4 September 1944 a fresh attempt was made to transport the Jews to Neuengamme concentration camp and they were entrained in a transport that was stopped at Diksmuide in Belgium by the resistance and the Jews rescued and helped until the Canadian liberation just days after.
At the end of war, some of the only camp personnel to be successfully tried for their crimes in the camps were the camp leaders of the Jewish camp, Adler and Evers. They were both tried at the Tribunal Militaire Permanent de Paris at Caserne de Reuilly in September 1949, on a charge of subjecting Jews to 'superhuman work' and 'systematic ill-treatment'. And were respectively sentenced to ten and seven years in prison.
Remains of the camp
The site of the camp and its perimeter remains intact and is today used as a recreational camp site and campers now pitch their tents on the sites of the former barrack huts! The kitchen block for the modern campers apparently incorporates the German camp kitchen and Davenport has seen the German shuttering marks on the walls. It will be recalled that the kitchen was the site of murder and beatings.
The pre-war farm house from which the modern recreational camp site is run and which was the Commandant's House, for Dietz and the others, is still extant.
The infamous tunnel to the beach on Arch Bay survives, where the inmates were threatened with mass death in case of an Allied invasion.
21. The Battery Quarry and Stone Plant - off New Town RoadThe Battery Quarry, close to West Batterie, is south of the New Town Road, where it crosses the railway-line and was the major work-sites for the prisoners from Norderney and Helgoland, including Jewish prisoners and was regarded as one of the toughest worksites. Kondakov notes that the SS prisoners were employed to quarry the blue granite or on the breakwater. Prisoners also worked at the stone plant near the harbour and parts of the concrete structure of what appears to be the stone plant stand either side of the railway line close to the quarry. Contemporary photographs reveal the significant industrial scale of the stone plant and a large cable-way going up into the quarry. Kondakov recalls seeing the slaves in their striped uniforms being lined up before taking the narrow path to the deep quarry, '... as if it were their way to Hell'. The quarry stone was used for the construction of the breakwater and the stone processed at the stone plant was for road metal and the employing company was Westdeutsche. The construction leaders in Alderney were able to report to Himmler that the island was self-sufficient in stones, coarse gravel, and split from the produce of the quarry by 1943.
22. West BatterieWest Batterie was ran by the OT firm Neumauer and employed men from Sylt. This was the site with the highest death rate of about 70%, its location is west of St Annes, taking Le Grand Val road out of town and is at geo-location, 49Â°42'28.14"N 2Â°13'49.48"W . A series of kettle-pit gun sites can be seen, with ammunition lifts and crew bunkers beneath, as well as surrounding service bunkers. The kettle-pits were in fact a cheaper, better, and more effective form of protection for guns and crew, than the closed concrete bunkers actually modelled on the enclosed protection for guns aboard ship, as they allowed blast to be effectively dissipated, over the top of the pit and were only really susceptible to direct hits.
23. Anti-Tank Wall - Longis CommonThis concrete defensive wall was the main labour of the Jewish forced labour contingent on Alderney and they were employed by the firm of Wolfer and Goebel. The wall consumed 20,000 tons of concrete and cost hundreds of Jewish lives. The anti-tank wall was one of the worst places to work and was called by the Russians 'Volnaya Gibel' 'Inevitable Death', or 'Free-Will Suicide', as the name of the OT firm at the site, 'Wolf and Goebbel' sound like free-will suicide in Russian and due to the severity and mortality of the work there.
The wall was 1.2m thick and 600m in length and extended by a line of tetroids across the promontory as far as the track.
The site of the Jewish cemetery is nearby, though our research has shown that the Nazis deliberately destroyed much of the cemetery to hide the true mortality among Jewish prisoners and the small number of Jewish graves visible at the end of the War has little correlation to the numbers who died.
At one end of the wall is a concrete decoration showing a copy of the Edelweiss, the National Flower of Austria and is the adopted symbol of the Austrian Mountain Divisions, as well as German Mountain Divisions. The concrete decoration is almost certainly copied from the Edelweiss cap badge, though it differs with the addition of one additional leaf. It is possible that the presence of an Austrian construction battalion on the island, engaged in the fortification works, could account for the emblem.
24. German Cemetery - Longis RoadDuring the war German soldiers were buried with some pomp and ceremony and a guard of honour before a tall wooden cross.
At the end of the War the German cemetery was the best kept of the war-cemeteries on the island, largely because post-war 13 Germans POW remained for a period renovating property and tending their comrade's graves. Now virtually all traces of the cemetery have gone apart from a grave stone and the main memorial plaque.
These prisoners appear to have erected the memorial reading:
'I live and you shall live too - John, 19-20
Our dead comrades
German Prisoners of War, in Alderney'
25. Commandant List's Chalet - Longis CommonRemarkably the chalet built for Commandant, Maximilian List still survives. At the end of war when housing was in short supply islanders were able to buy old huts for housing. Harry Griffiths brought List's Chalet and moved it away from original site at Sylt, down the Longis Road, where it was re-erected. At some point the property was extended, but List's Chalet still forms the centre of the house and can be seen from the Longis Road north of Longis Bay.
However, a member of the Alderney Holocaust and Slave Labour Trust argues plausibly that the chalet was never the actual residence of the Commandant, being too small, but an SS Brothel instead. This indeed would fit with its secluded and scenic position as well as its proximity to the tunnel and the provision of washing facilities at the far end, as the effective ante-chamber and preparation area, also there are significant numbers of photographs of women who were prostitutes on the island.
26. Site of Russian Cemetery - Longis CommonWhile we may never know how many slave labourers died on Alderney, there was undoubtedly a very high mortality rate among the starved and abused prisoners. However, since the slave labour camps were not extermination camps as such, a significant proportion of the worked out prisoners in the final stage of their lives, were sent back to the continent to die, or to be explicitly exterminated, at other locations, or camps.
The Germans evidently struggled to keep up with the constant flow of the dead from the camps and how to dispose of them and the dead were treated with utter disrespect by the NSKK group who were responsible for the disposals. There are multiple witness accounts that the Germans, at the beginning, just threw the dead into the sea off the end of the breakwater, or buried them in the beaches at the low water-mark and then let the tide take them away, though this meant in fact a lot of bodies were floating around the island, or submerged around the breakwater as observed by a number of independent witnesses. They also increasingly buried prisoners in opportunistic burial sites, such as trenches, before latterly adopting more formal burial grounds, the main one of which was at Longis Common and a smaller one at St Anne's Church. Accounts also relate that two mass graves of 83 and 48 bodies were found by British forces at the liberation, the Jewish victims of mass shootings. A German, Prekshatt, who worked for Commandant Zuske stated 'a truck collected the naked corpses which were taken off the truck with pitchforks and thrown into a general grave'. Therefore the identified grave sites only represent a proportion and not the totality of the actual slave worker mortalities on and off Alderney, and the number of bodies disinterred from the identified cemeteries at the end of the war only represent an absolute minimum figure.
Georgi Kondakov, prisoner reported:
'Lack of elementary living conditions, over-crowding, cold and starvation, brutal treatment and unbearable work for 12-14 hours a day - all this resulted in mass destruction of Russians. Ukrainians and Poles. Every morning a number of motionless bodies could be found in their beds and those who were still alive had to go away to killing work...'
While the rest of the workers were at their work injured prisoners would help dispose of the bodies. 'When all the prisoners were led away to work, those, who like me had damaged hands, pulled bodies out of the plank beds and then carried them to the huts which stood in the fern. Those huts were empty, only corpses lay there. Usually a lorry arrived to take them away, but sometimes it did not come for several days. Crowds of rats which occupied the huts gnawed ears, noses and so on. A constant squealing could be heard there. When the tip lorry arrived we loaded it with 20-25 bodies.'
The Russian Cemetery was reputed to have been created in late 1942, because the newly arriving Frontfuhrer was not pleased to see Russian Corpses floating in the sea. Kondakov, and the other prisoners were told at Christmas 1942 that hence forth they would receive burial in coffins and have crosses, by the order of the new Frontfuhrer, though in reality only a single reusable coffin with a trap-door at the bottom and the prisoner went to what was probably a trench with no grave marker.
The mortality rates in the camps is a matter of dispute, but the figure was certainly in the many hundreds and Partridge gives the total number of Russian deaths as 687 (based on numbers of actual located burials), though an MI5 report of February 1944 states that an informant had told them that 843 Russians died out of 2000 and some 500/600 buried at Longis Common. One MI 19 report of 6 July 1944, states that in one period of 12 months 700 Russians died on Alderney.
Pantchef found 389 burials of forced labourers and prisoners, corresponding to the cemeteries at Longis Common and St Annes, but this does not take into account other opportunistic burial sites, such as in trenches, or in the beaches, and disposal at sea, etc. However, it is known that there was substantially covered-up by false accounting of deaths by camp officers, to avoid getting into trouble with superiors on the continent for having too high death rates. Also, in many cases more than one prisoners was interred in each grave. Towards the end of the war the Germans attempted to cover up the extent of Russian deaths by tearing up the crosses and levelling the ground at the Russian cemetery and there was also widespread failure to properly record deaths. However, the seems to be some consensus among eye-witnesses and researchers that the mortality rate among the Russians was around 50% and might have even amounted to several thousands, across all prisoner and nationality groups, though because of the fog or war and deliberate Nazi attempts to cover-up the true mortality rate, we will never know.
After the war, in 1962, the Russian cemetery was exhumed and the remains sent for reburial in Cherbourg in France. Of supreme importance is a report by a Dutch grave-worker at the site that they only dug the discreet marked graves and that they were told not to touch further remains that were observed coming out of the side of the trench, proving that the exhumation was incomplete. Remote survey work carried out by M. Roberts and C. Sturdy Colls in 2007, using aerial imagery also tended to suggest this conclusion, that the desecration of the cemetery and its boundaries by the Germans may have meant that some of Russian remains could still be in situ.
27. Site of Jewish Cemetery - Longis CommonAt the end of War eight Jewish burials were identified at the NW edge of the Russian burial ground and marked with a sign by the British forces. Eye-witness testimony makes it clear that more than 8 Jews died on Alderney. Some of this number may have been subject to irregular disposal, on, or just off, Alderney, or in NW France, though the non-French Jews may also have met their end at extermination camps in Eastern Europe, particularly as the Nazis were keen to make sure that they made up their transportation quotas, which was the reason for the premature transportation of many of the Jews originally deported from Belgium, being sent on to Auschwitz, from the camps in NW France, only weeks after their arrival and commencing work on the Atlantic Wall in 1942.
The OT on Alderney had their own transportation office in the harbour for the shipment of OT workers, so the machinery for mass-transportation of worked out prisoners and Jews was in place and will be described more fully later. It may be noted that among the linked Jewish concentration camps in the region of Boulogne that 6 graves survive, but nearly 97% of the Jewish labourers on the Atlantic Wall died on, or soon after their deportation to Auschwitz, just 3-4 months into their labours, in 1942.
Three sets of remains were exhumed and reburied by their families before 1961. Then the remaining bodies were removed and interred by the German War Graves Commission and reburied at Mont de Huisnes German Military Cemetery at La Manche, France in 1961, since an international agreement deemed the remains of forced labourers were to be 'counted to the German war dead'. This irregular conclusion was challenged by the 'Les Amicales des Anciens Deportees' which led to the remains being finally removed to a vault in the Cimatiere de Saint Ouen, Seine-St Denis, on 19 May 1963.
The German War Graves Commission carried out what appears to have been a cursory and incomplete exhumation of part of the Russian cemetery also in 1961 and it is claimed that one of the Dutch grave-diggers claimed that they only removed marked graves and that he saw other human remains coming out of the side of the trench, but was told to leave them.
The general location of the centre of the site of the Russian and Jewish Cemetery, is readily identifiable, as contemporary records and maps and more OS modern maps, agree as to the location of the site, if not all of its exact boundaries and its physical extent. Also, there are physical traces on the ground in the form of ditches around portions of the cemetery. For those with GPS the centre of the location is 49"43'23.31"N, 2"10'31.04"W and can be found using a mobile phone (if there is a phone signal) or GPS device. The small Jewish section is approximately at 49"43'22.27"N, 2"10'29.61"W.
In terms of the physical evidence from the air, World War II aerial imagery from April 1945 and the Royal Engineers Map of 6 March 1945, show a main rectangular burial site with disturbed ground in 7 main burial rows which show up as dark and light strips (with unmarked graves), running roughly N - S, where the bulk of the interments were to be found. The regular burial earthworks suggests that the graves were formed of long, 50m trenches, into which the burials were introduced, rather than perhaps individually constructed graves. This would accord with the eye-witness statement of Petro Zadko, a Ukrainian prisoner, who stated in a letter to the Alderney Society, 'the dead people were thrown into a dug ditch. There are a lot of people buried there.'
There is additional aerial evidence that might support a conjecture that the Germans were in fact using re-using an area that had already been trenched, or otherwise used to extract sand or building materials. This can be seen in an aerial photograph of 1943, which shows the later main burial area as a high-contrast white area, suggesting exposed sand, or other materials and interestingly, the area that was also used for the 43 'unknown Soviet burials' along the diagonal east boundary of the cemetery, also shows as a pure white strip and so also is the area of Jewish burials and yet by 1945 are largely obscured and dark, by in-fill and vegetation. This gives some rationale for the groupings of the burials in the burial site and also supports observations from elsewhere that the Germans would use opportunistic burial opportunities and that perhaps to add further indignity upon the dead, they were effectively back-fill for the construction works.
The aerial photography shows that the burial area was the west side of a much larger irregular shaped plot extending eastwards, which is shown on both the official plan of the Russian Cemetery at the Alderney Museum and the Ordinance Survey Map which show the larger site. The eight Jewish graves are shown on the official burial plan as being on the southern boundary, east of the main burial area. Furthermore the official plan also records a further 43 'unknown Soviet burials' along the diagonal east boundary of the cemetery and the aerial photography again shows evidence of trench along the boundary. An examination of the aerial material also suggests a possible extension of the cemetery site further south of the recorded area, though without an archaeological geophysical survey of the ground (which is planned to take place), it would be difficult to ascertain if this is part of a pre-war or war-time feature, or could provide evidence of the claim that the Germans bulldozed part of the cemetery. From 1943 a rash of ground disturbances is visible in the vicinity of the cemetery, which could be evidence of constructional works / further extractions of minerals, but could also be evidence of other burials sites.
The cemetery can be readily located by the use of local landmarks by the visitor. The very south-western corner of the Russian section of the cemetery is virtually 210m, due north of the gate of the 'Nunnery' a prominent landmark. If you do not have a compass and you turn around at 210m north from the Nunnery and then look back towards the gate of the Nunnery, the corner of the cemetery is then on an absolutely direct sight-line with the gate of the Nunnery and the most northerly end of the wall of the prominent English Fort Essex, and the Jewish cemetery location is 50m SEE of this point.
It is important to appreciate that it is almost certain that human remains are still buried across this portion of Longis Common and that it should still be preserved and respected as a War Grave.
28. The Harbour and Breakwater St Anne's - Braye HarbourThe breakwater and harbour was one of the major area of activity on Alderney and a major location for slave work. Slave workers were constantly engaged in loading and unloading boats and there are surviving photographs of SS prisoners their striped pyjama uniforms also at work in the harbour. Many of the workers were Russians and they were frequently beaten and ill-treated and hit with clubs. One of the port commanders frequently said of the Russian OT workers, 'kick them in the arse when they come' and 'these are not humans but animals'. Moreover, the extension of the breakwater itself was a major construction project using slave labour. The original harbour and jetty were very small and crowded; utterly ill-suited to the volume of shipping needed to fulfil the construction projects on Alderney and according slave labour was used to extend the jetty and also the breakwater.
Jews were also working at the harbour and may well in the prisoners seen in the photographs, 'here we came in contact with the Jews for the first time. They were involved in up-loading boats, and had reached such a degree of starvation that it was a pastime for the Germans to throw them pieces of carrot and see the pitiful wrecks fight for it ... Cases of cannibalism were mentioned to me by an elderly Rumanian Jew, who gave all sorts of hair-raising details ... I had no reason to doubt these reports.'
The harbour was the site of the OT transport office ('Schiffsleitstelle') and the point of embarkation and disembarkation for prisoner transports. Prisoners were transported off the island to go to other labour projects, where their labour was needed, occasionally for onward medical treatment and often for onward transportation for extermination at other camps or facilities and finally for evacuation towards the end of the war.
It appears that in December 1942, 68 Russian patients were sent for medical treatment in Cherbourg, though the informant was at a loss to understand why he had not been sent away to be killed instead. Also, in May or June 1943, a large transport of Russian prisoners was send for medical treatment in Cherbourg, or reassignment to lighter duties, as the result of a medical commission into the mistreatment of prisoners.
In November 1943, a contingent of French Jewish prisoners from Alderney (Auigny) were transferred to Dannes in the Nord Pas de Calais and the same happened on 7 May, 1944, when 650 Jewish prisoners were evacuated from Alderney by boat to Cherbourg and 500 of that group were sent to Dannes with the older men being sent to Camp Brauneck in Boulogne.
One group of Russians were transported to Kortemark in July - August, 1944, to work on the VI sites there. They were confined to sealed railway waggons for 3 weeks and suffered horrific privation, abuse, torture and murder, during the journey and the conditions led to prisoners attempting to escape. On the Kortemark journey, 19 prisoners were killed and 28 injured in a goods truck near Verdun, by SS-mann, Peter Bittenrinder.
In January 1943 some 300 Russians were due to be transported to Cherbourg by the s/s 'Xaver Dosch'. The Russians kept for three days packed below decks in terrible conditions and 8-10 Russians died while in the hold. Then, as the prisoners continued to be held without food or water for 14 days, there was a great storm from 13-14 January and the ship was wrecked in the port killing many of the Russians locked in the holds. The remainder were then taken off to France in the 'Francke'.
Evidence shows that the end of the harbour breakwater was, in the earlier phase of the German occupation of Alderney, the major point of disposal for the dead slave workers from the camps. V.I. Rosslova stated, 'A lorry loaded with corpses would go to the end of the breakwater which stuck out 500 meters into the bay, dumped its horrible load and came back.' John Dalmau dived in a diving helmet near the end of Braye Harbour breakwater, to repair an anti-submarine net and saw 'among the rocks and seaweed there were skeletons all over the place. Crabs and Lobster were having a feast on the bodies that remained intact... horribly fascinated I watched the blown up bodies [i.e. with gases of decomposition] moving with the tide like a dance macabre''. Some have cast doubt on these witness statements as evidence of human remains were not seen shortly after the war, though marine archaeology shows that human remains, for example in ship-wreck war-grave sites, do not persist for long periods and the activity of scavenging sea-life and powerful currents around the break-water may also be pertinent factors.
29. Russian Cemetery - St Anne's Church YardAt St Anne's church (off Victoria Street) is of significant interest because of it is the only readily identifiable and memorialised Russian slave worker cemetery site. A smaller portion of the Russians (and others brought to the island), who died during their severe servitude on the island were buried in the church yard. The locations of their graves were originally marked by simple black or white wooden crosses, with simple inscriptions, with some in the Russian Orthodox style, with an additional cross piece. The conventional account is that the graves were completely exhumed in 1961, by the German War Grave Commission, along with the remains at Longis Common. The exhumation also uncovered several additional graves to the south of the church as well for six Dutch workers.
However, in a recent conversation with Ray Gaudion, he stated that when he watched the exhumations in 1961 he was explicit in relating that one slave worker grave had in fact been left in St Anne's Church Yard, because an islander had been buried over it.
Ray's account can be verified and amplified by additional evidence. Watson's plan of the burials shows that the cemetery was multi-national and his plan shows 54 burials. Most were 'Soviets' but there were also burials of 'Yugo slavs', 'Czecho Slovuks', and Spanish slave workers. Also, there were two French Woman buried in the plot and one may recall a statement by Nebel that 'I met two French Woman clad only in pyjamas who were officially cooks and washerwomen, but really at night did their work 'horizontally'.
The German War Grave Commission statistics states that in fact 64 slave workers were buried here and of these, 1 was Belgian, 2 French, 5 Dutch, 1 Polish, 45 Russian, 1 Spanish, 6 Yugoslav, and 3 unidentified.
Watson's plan also backs up Ray's account, as it specifically shows as part of the map key, 'Russian burial[s] above existing graves' and the plan indicates that there were two such marked graves in the very SE corner of the 'Soviet' area, directly opposite the NE corner of the Church, just across the path. An examination of the post-war photograph of the Soviet Cemetery can be readily correlated with the remaining islanders' graves and monuments to enable more precise locations.
An ornate iron-cross of a local person can be seen both in the historic image, as well as in the contemporary cemetery, as an orientation point, as it was just behind the boundary of the Russian Cemetery. It can be seen that two grave markers which stand today, in front of the iron-cross and at the corner of the modern church car park were just within the Russian Cemetery area. One is a larger round-headed memorial and the one of the corner of the carpark itself is shorter and is irregular in shape, or partly broken. In the photograph of the Russian Cemetery, two wooden Russian graves markers can be discerned to be at planted next to both of these head-stones and the same situation applies to the next grave-stone to the right, at the very corner of the grassed plot, though this grave-stone is now gone and the grave site is hard against the curved modern tarmac path going around the apse of the church.
Therefore it seems that at least two slave workers graves inter-cut existing local graves, and that it is likely that the mortal remains of two slave workers remain on the corner site, with the strong likelihood of two other still being adjacent as well given that they too were probably placed into an existing grave space.
The two surviving graves on the very edge of the burial plot, next to the tarmac are of Aris Cornelius (5.6.18 - 31.10.42) and Wolowdlik Petro 1921 - 31.10.42 and the next two potential burials are of Serg. Woroby (10.5.07 - 11.11.42 and a Jugoslav) and an 'unknown' burial.
The grave makers are now gone and the grave sites have been un-befittingly covered over with a tarmac car-parking area. The locations of the graves are opposite a bronze plaque on the church wall and under the car parking area. The plaque reads:
1941 - 1945
NEAR TO THIS PLACE
ARE BURIED 45 SOVIET CITIZENS
WHO DIED IN ALDERNEY
THIER NAMES ARE RECORDED
IN THE STATES OFFICE
30. Fort AlbertFort Albert was heavily refortified under the supervision of an Austrian construction battalion from c. June 1941. The work cohort at Fort Albert included SS prisoners who were used for the heaviest tasks including road making and construction of tunnels.
During the excavation works at Fort Albert weakened political prisoners were thrown off the cliff into the sea. Dalmau states that when an observation post was being constructed, 'During the morning two of the political prisoners collapsed where they stood, and to my horror they were thrown over the cliff into the sea. In the afternoon seven more went the same way. Throwing men over the cliff became the standard way of getting rid of exhausted workers.'
Dalmau also witnessed other acts of mass murder on the site - on one occasion he saw 50 prisoners shot and thrown over the cliff and this was repeated in total seven times before work on the observation post was finished.
The observation Tower that Dalmau refers to has gone, but it can be seen and readily located in a war-time photograph, above the main road entrance to the fort.
The precise place for these murders appears to have been the cliffs around and just east of Rosselle Point. There is a location on the track near to the NW side of Fort Albert which looks into a precipitous chasm. At this point there was a war-time bridge made of concrete connecting two concrete emplacements and this seems to be favoured by some as the execution point and indeed this would have served the terrifying purpose very well. This site is only 115m from the tower, so it is easily the closest and most expeditious point for the war-crime to have been committed. Dalmau's account fits the geographical and topographical evidence perfectly.
However, Roselle Point itself is also regarded as the disposal / execution point and while the cliffs are lower, and was only 250m from the Observation Tower, it would have been further from general view and of course more than one place could have been used.
There is some supporting evidence for claims of prisoners being thrown off the cliffs. While in researching this disposal and execution site, I had heard of divers seeing bones on the sea-bed, but no precise sources. I was able very recently to pin down a credible source for this account in discussions with Jens Gardiner, while by his fishing boat at the harbour. He said that his grandfather (John Ray) was directly on Alderney as soon as the Germans had left and was involved in clearing mines at sea using a trawl, as well as having to clear ordnance on land. He trawled up not only bones but bodies as well. He also saw bones on the sea bed after the War when diving with a diving helmet. The location cited is the rocky out-crops at Roselle Point itself with the German concrete outposts. It will be noted that is also very close to the area near the end of Braye Harbour breakwater, which Dalmau claims to have seen the submerged bodies.
31. Strong Point 'Biberkopf' - Bibette HeadAnother site of labour for SS Baubrigade prisoners was the construction of the strong-point at Bibette Head. This strong point is very well preserved indeed and includes infantry and gun positions connected by concrete passages and tunnels and covered with cemented rocks as camouflage up to 1m thick.
32. Hammond Memorial - Rue de BeaumontThe Hammond Memorial is a privately constructed memorial created by the Hammond family, which stands at one end of the Island and is one of the main focus points for acts of individual and corporate acts of commemoration for all of the main prisoner groups on Alderney. There are memorial plaques representing the main victim groups and memorials to Russians, Ukrainians Poles, Algerians, Moroccans, Belgians, Spanish, French, Two Chinese, Jews of many nationalities, some Channel Islander and even some Germans who did not agree with Hitler's regime can all be found at the Memorial. The main plaque at the memorial reads:
OF ALL FORIEGN LABOUR
WHO DIED IN ALDERNEY
BETWEEN THE YEARS
1940 - 1945
THEY ALSO SERVED'
The memorial is east along the Rue de Beaumont, and then 0.4 km NE along the road from Whitegates (the junction to Fort Albert).
33. Raz Island - Causeway and BurialsRaz island was refortified by the Germans and a narrow gauge railway was laid alongside the causeway. A small railway truck lies on its back close to the end of the causeway today. The MI 19 report notes that political prisoners were seen working there with concrete mixers(no. 31).
The beach adjacent to the cause way to Raz Island, and was one site of beach burials, when batches of 1-15 prisoners would be dumped into holes dug by prisoners from a truck at low-tide mark. One prisoner witnessed this on 2-3 occasions and his report is corroborated by other prisoner accounts.
It is not clear which location on the beach was used, While it may have been close to the causeway to the island, it may also be speculated that they may have been nearer to the site of the Nunnery, as there is more sand at this end of the beach and the last gap in the anti-tank wall and hard access to the beach was here.