September 1942 Internment Order

On 15th September 1942, the German authorities in the islands issued the following order.

Tuesday 15th September 1942

NOTICE

By order of higher authorities, the following British subjects will be evacuated and transferred to Germany:

(a) Persons who have their permanent residence not on the Channel Islands, for instance, those who have been caught here by the out-break of the war;

(b) All those men not born on the Channel Islands and 16 — 70 years of age who belong to the English people, together with their families.

Detailed instructions will be given by the Feldkommandantur 515.

Der Feldkommandant:

KNACKFUSS, Oberst.

The order was a direct retaliation for the British interning Germans.

During the autumn of 1941, Britain had detained German civilian workers and their families in Iran, which had incensed Hitler. As an act of retaliation, Hitler ordered that all UK citizens living in the Channel Islands be interned in Germany.

The original order was issued in 1941 but because many of Germany’s hierarchy were against the order, it was delayed and not issued until September 1942.

Oberst Knackfuss, Commander of Field Command 515 finally issued the order in Jersey, but not before trying to overturn it. Knackfuss contacted his friend General Schmundt, one of Hitler’s adjutants.

Schmundt however told Knackfuss that the order had come directly from Hitler and there was no changing Hitler’s mind.

The Wurzach internment camp, painted by Jersey artist Harold Hepburn.

As a result of this order, 2000 Channel Island residents were deported to German internment camps such as Biberach, Bad Wurzach and Laufen and did not return until after May 1945.

Top image - deportees at the Weighbridge, CIOS Archives, Story by Colin Isherwood