A shopkeeper's story

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From WW2 People’s War – An archive of World War Two memories, written by the public, gathered by the BBC

People in story: Arthur Shales. Harry and Eliza Harding

Contributed on: 12 January 2006

Snow Hill

Like many others we had a shop during the Occupation. It was approximately 80 yards from Snow Hill. At no time at all did the German soldiers ‘swarm through the shops, stripping us bare of food and clothing and every other commodity’

At Fredrick Bakers, George D Laurens or Broughs the soldiers always clicked their heels, saluted and paid for what they required. I know, I was there. It happened in our shop.

Bulk buying, yes. That did happen, but they always paid for it.

However, the first Kommandant in Jersey, Hauptmann Gussek, (who incidentally had been a POW in Jersey during the 1914-18 war) put a stop to it by issuing orders to the effect that as from a certain date shop owners would supply German troops only with amounts as prescribed by an order of the high command. The order which was put into effect had to be on display and was printed in English and German and signed by Haupt Gussek. I still have one of these orders.

Slave workers have been mentioned in the past. And yes we did have them — but not all were slave workers. Many who worked for the Germans were volunteers; others political prisoners of Hitler’s Third Reich. In most cases these workers were controlled by Org Todt, who were the brutal ones, not the ordinary German soldiers.

One Russian we knew, whom we nicknamed George, actually stayed with my family for a while and it was many years after the war when he returned to the island we found out his name was George Kosloff.

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