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Biberach commemorative walk to remember deportees

Biberach commemorative walk to remember deportees

Tuesday 06 December 2022

Biberach commemorative walk to remember deportees

Tuesday 06 December 2022

A commemorative walk has been held to remember the deportees who left Guernsey and were sent to Biberach during the Second World War.

Last month saw the 80th anniversary of the arrival of deportees from Guernsey to Camp Lindele, in Biberach.

A group from the Biberach Friends of Guernsey gathered at the area which had housed the camp last month to reunite with others and to meet with historians. 

They walked from Biberach Railway Station to the former Lager Lindele. It is now a Police College for Further Education.


Pictured: The group stopped to recall memories of their 1942 journey.

The group remembered how at the end of September 1942, British citizens not born in Guernsey were ordered to leave their home within a few days.

They first crossed to St Malo, where they boarded a train that took them across France and Luxembourg to a former POW camp in Dorsten.

From this camp, the men, women and children were transported by train in a 36-hour journey to Biberach. Memories of the journey say there were "very poor travel provisions" and facilities along the way were poor too.

In the early afternoon of Monday 14 November, 1942 the first deportees from Guernsey arrived at Biberach Station.

Recollections of the time state that there was snow on the ground when they arrived and they all had to carry their own luggage up a steep hill to the camp. They had to walk in rows of five.

Whoever was strong enough helped to carry the luggage of those who could not cope. Anyone who lagged behind was pushed back into their own by guards using their rifle butts.


Pictured: The group stopped to recall memories of their 1942 journey.

At the first stop on last month's commemorative walk, participants heard an extract of a book, written by Stephen Matthews who was then four years old.

In his book, 'The Day the Nazis Came', he remembers “women struggling with their babies and men burdened with heavy suitcases and parcels” and “pathetic stragglers with the old and infirm falling further and further behind”, being “rounded up and verbally abused and jostled by the malignant German guards”.

Following the deportees’ walk up the hill to the destination, the group heard on three stops about the procedure men, women and children had to go through on their arrival including the strict roll call. 

They were counted again in rows of five before being being able to eat a meal of soup and potatoes. They were then taken to their barracks which would be their homes until the end of the war.


Pictured: The 2022 commemorative walk to Biberach.

About 25 people turned up for this commemorative walk, among them the former Mayor of Biberach, Thomas Fettback, plus members of the Jersey Committee from Bad Wurzach. 

To round up the 2022 event there followed a guided tour through the exhibition “Life behind Barbed Wire” in the building of the Police College transmitting an impression of the conditions at Lager Lindele.

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