September 16, 2021

First with the Alderney News

WW II heritage: States to survey households

3 min read

The States of Alderney is to consult all of the Island’s households about plans to safeguard its World War II heritage sites.

The views of people who live on Alderney, some of them involved in departing the island in 1940 and the Homecoming in 1945 after  German occupation, will be fed back to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) which has made a number of recommendations for ways to preserve understanding of the wartime period.

A questionnaire to be sent to every property will seek the views of Islanders about a blueprint for preservation presented to States Members and the public on July 8th by IHRA members at the Island Hall.

A list of eight recommendations was outlined during a visit by Lord Eric Pickles, UK Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues; Sally Sealey, Head of Secretariat, UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation; and Dr Gilly Carr, of the University of Cambridge and Channel Islands Representative on the IHRA. It was hosted by Alderney’s President, William Tate and his wife Gabrielle.

They held a number of meetings with the States Members and officers, stakeholders and the public, presenting their proposals as part of a charter for safeguarding sites at a public meeting for Alderney residents.

The IHRA proposal put to Members and Islanders included:

Adding the sites of the four Nazi camps on Alderney to the Land Registry, together with the Occupation burial site on Longis Common.

Creating an interactive website to include the sites of World War II persecution, stories of events and experiences around the evacuation and homecoming, rebuilding the Island, and information about the various memorials on Alderney. This would be created by the University of  Cambridge in conjunction with a consultation group of Islanders and include input by St Anne’s School pupils.

An online education resource for teachers and pupils anywhere in the world.

Full legal protection of heritage sites.

An exhibition drawing together Alderney’s heritage sites, probably in partnership with the Alderney Museum.

Discreet signage at the Nazi camp sites and Longis Common using QR codes that allow visitors to access information online using a mobile device.

Discreet boundary markers at the corners of the burial ground on Longis Common.

Working with the Alderney Society to add the voices and testimonies of WWII prisoners to the Museum exhibit.

Now the States wants to hear the views of the entire community on the island as it is very aware that not everyone who may have wanted to contribute to the initial meetings was available during the IHRA’s short visit.

The IHRA hopes to achieve its objectives through consultations and partnerships, not only with the States and local people, but also with the IHRA’s Permanent International Partners and other heritage organisations. However, the organisation has always maintained that the views of Islanders are paramount.

The questionnaire to be sent out in early Autumn will elicit the views of Islanders about each aspect of the proposals and provide an  opportunity for further comment in a free response box.

“This is a very sensitive matter for many people on Alderney and some very real concerns were expressed at the public meeting,” said Ian Carter, Deputy Chair of the Policy & Finance Committee. “So it is only right that we give everyone the opportunity to express their
opinion before any decisions are made.”

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