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UK says Guernsey's Holocaust records will be "publicly available"

UK says Guernsey's Holocaust records will be

Friday 28 January 2022

UK says Guernsey's Holocaust records will be "publicly available"

Friday 28 January 2022

The UK government said yesterday – on Holocaust Memorial Day – that Guernsey has agreed to take part in a national initiative to make all records relating to the Holocaust available to the public for the first time.

However, it is not yet clear which records held locally will be published for the first time or which records will remain inaccessible to the public.

The UK government said it would “make all its records related to the Holocaust available to the public for the first time, for research and study purposes…in addition, the governments of Guernsey and Jersey have committed to making their Holocaust records publicly available as well”.

The statement released by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office included words from the President of the Policy & Resources Committee, Deputy Peter Ferbrache.

Deputy Peter Ferbrache

Pictured: Deputy Peter Ferbrache said the Island Archives, based at St. Barnabas, pictured top right, had carried out a lot of work to collate and index its records on the Holocaust. 

“Guernsey is committed to ensuring that the records it holds related to the Holocaust, and more generally the Nazi Occupation of the island, are accessible,” said Deputy Ferbrache.

“A substantial amount of work has already been undertaken over the years to collate and index the records held by the States on this matter, and the Island Archives, where the majority of these records are held, continually works on improving ease of access.”

Pictured: The announcement was welcomed by Dr Gilly Carr. Dr Carr is an Associate Professor at the University of Cambridge and a member of the UK’s delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. She has strong family links to Guernsey and her academic specialism is victims of Nazism in the Channel Islands.

Express asked the States for an indication of the type of records in the island’s Holocaust collection which would be released as part of the commitment made nationally and whether there were any Holocaust records which would not be released.

The States provided the following reply:

“Given the significance of the German Occupation in Guernsey’s history, a substantial amount of work has been undertaken over the years to collate and index the records held by the States on this matter.

“This includes those related to the Holocaust, such as records held on individuals deported by order of the German authorities in 1942 and 1943.

“The Island Archives acts as a central repository for the records held by the States. A list of the records held by the Island Archives and its policies for accessing these records is available on its webpage HERE.

Tim barker

Pictured: The Dean of Guernsey, the Very Reverend Tim Barker, leads a service at the White Rock in 2020 to remember Jews who lost their lives in the Holocaust. Guernsey has now moved its Holocaust commemorations to April to coincide with Yom HaShoah.

“Island Archives’ staff will make users aware of any closed records and explain the restrictions and procedure for applying to consult them. Some materials of a sensitive nature, such as health or child welfare records, are understandably subject to restrictions where proportionate as is the case in other jurisdictions, based on international standards.

“The Island Archives must also balance the provision of access with the need to preserve archive material for future generations. Researchers may be required to use surrogate copies of records to preserve the originals. This reflects our long-standing policy, seeking to balance rights to privacy with rights to information. 

“Users who would like to consult archive records that are likely to be subject to restrictions are requested to contact the Island Archives well in advance of any visit to discuss necessary permissions.

“The States are committed to ensuring that the records they hold are accessible to those who want to research this important time in our island’s history.

“Work is being progressed by the Island Archives to make the indexes of records available online, which will further assist researchers in understanding the breadth of the records we hold. Further work is being progressed to consider and implement other ways to improve accessibility to the records we hold. We look forward to continuing to assist all researchers.”

Pictured: Dr Carr said she was still waiting for the UK government to provide her with files on local aspects of the Holocaust which the Bailiff had agreed she could see years ago.

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