Jersey War Tunnels
Les Charrières Malorey, St Lawrence, JE3 1FU, Jersey
www.germanundergroundhospita… - 01534 860808
Jersey War Tunnels St Lawrence, JE3 1FU Reviews
Apr 06, 2004
Jersey was occupiedby German troops between 1940 and 1945during which timeabout 8,000 islanders were evacuated, 1,200 islanders were deported to camps in Germany and over 300 islanders were sentenced to the prison and concentration camps of mainland Europe.
One ofJersey’s largest testament to its World War two occupation is the German Underground Hospital. This complex of tunnels was excavated between October 1941 and January 1944 by the occupying German forces using forced and slave labour.More than 5,000 slave labourers were brought over to Jersey - Russians, Poles, Frenchmen and Spaniards.
In January 1944, with the Allied Invasion looming it was converted into a bomb and assault-proof casualty clearing station. The result was almost a kilometre of concrete-lined tunnels and galleries comprising of wards for 500 casualties, staff quarters, operating theatre, kitchens and stores. Within the complex is the award winning 'Captive Island' exhibition, the definitive and chillingly realistic story of the German Occupation of Jersey. A number of recent facets have also been added, these are a Garden of Reflection, War Trail and a Research Centre, along with a permanent exhibition entitled Szabo, dedicated to the life of a war heroine whose daugher lives in Jersey. In2001a multi-million pound interactive exhibition telling the true-life stories of the islanders and foreign prisoners who were involved in the hospital’s construction, as well as the families who lived through the trying years of occupation was constructed.
We really enjoyed our day at the tunnels. Displays were interactive and really informative. The display upstairs in the visitor centre was incredibly moving as you read the true life stories of people caught up in the occupation of the island. Upon arrival at the centre were we each given replica identification cards of islanders and later had the opportunity to explore their stories with the help of the displays.
The tunnels took us about 2 hours to walk round and then the visitor centre at least an hour. I'd recommend people take a jumper as it can get quite chilly down there.
This isn't my usual prefered holiday activity and I'm not particuarly a historian, however I found this attraction emotionally moving and really interesting. All the members of our groupleft that day in some sense of shock but also a greater understanding of the struggle of ordinary people in wartime which has left a big impression ever since.
Well worth a visit.
Part of the Jersey 2004 travel blog
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!