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Safeguarding sites of Nazi persecution in the Channel Islands

Monday 26 July 2021

 

St Catharine’s Fellow Dr Gilly Carr was among a delegation from the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) who presented recommendations to safeguard sites on the Channel Island of Alderney earlier in July. The island was the location of four labour camps (Borkum, Norderney, Helgoland and SS Lager Sylt), in addition to burial sites on Longis Common.

The delegation was hosted by Alderney's President William Tate as a follow-up to a visit in September 2019 that looked at the risks facing former Nazi camps on the island and began the discussion about steps that could be taken to address these challenges. Delegates met with States Members of Alderney's parliament and other stakeholders, as well as with the Alderney community, and expressed their continued commitment to supporting Alderney and its community in overcoming the challenges facing sites of Nazi persecution on the island.

Dr Gilly Carr visited SS Lager Sylt on Alderney
Dr Gilly Carr visited SS Lager Sylt on Alderney (credit: David Nash)

Dr Carr commented, “It was wonderful to be able to return to Alderney despite the pandemic and to enjoy the hospitality of islanders and especially President William Tate. The opportunity to share IHRA recommendations in person to the local community was a valuable one. I hope that the local population will appreciate the way that the recommendations will record and safeguard local heritage and wartime experiences for future generations through the proposed website. The proposed unobtrusive markers or information boards outside the sites of Nazi persecution on the island will help record and honour those who suffered in these places.”

Dr Carr joined the delegation as Channel Islands representative to the IHRA, member of the IHRA's UK delegation, and Chair of the IHRA’s Safeguarding Sites Project, alongside Lord Eric Pickles, UK Head of Delegation to the IHRA, and Sally Sealey, UK Deputy Head of Delegation to the IHRA.

The eight recommendations for Alderney are to: 

  • Improve mapping, liaising with the Land Registry to ensure sites relating to the German Occupation are included
  • Produce a dedicated website about the wartime sites of all kinds on the island
  • Provide locally-relevant Holocaust educational materials for schools
  • Ensure the four labour camps and other sites of historic interest are protected by heritage listing
  • Stage an exhibition (virtual or in-person)
  • Provide signage at all sites
  • Mark the boundary of the burial site on Longis Common
  • Provide additional materials about the prisoner experience  for Alderney’s Museum

Dr Carr added, “These eight recommendations were made by a team of international experts, experienced in the field of Holocaust heritage. They were formulated to acknowledge the sensitivity of the sites in Alderney and to reflect best practice in this field.”

The IHRA’s recommendations are part of a five-year plan to help safeguard these sites in a sensitive manner empathetic to the Alderney community. They were also developed with reference to a new charter being drafted by the IHRA's Safeguarding Sites Project, which will share best practices to address challenges facing sites of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution throughout Europe.

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