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More than 1,000 slave workers may have died in Nazi Alderney camps, review says | Channel Islands

More than 1,000 slave laborers may have died on British soil at the hands of the Nazis in World War II, hundreds more deaths than officially recorded in historical records, a review has found.

Workers on the island of Alderney were “subject to appalling living and working conditions, including hunger, long hours, dangerous construction work, beatings, mutilations, torture, inadequate accommodation and, in some cases, executions,” he claimed. said the review.

He also concluded that there was no evidence to support suggestions that many thousands of people died on the island, and said that claims that “Alderney constituted a ‘mini-Auschwitz’ were totally unfounded.”

The revised death toll on Alderney, one of the Channel Islands occupied by Nazi forces between 1940 and 1945, has been established by a panel of independent and internationally recognized experts. Commissioned by Eric Pickles, the UK’s Holocaust envoy, the Alderney expert review panel aimed to dispel conspiracy theories about what happened in Alderney.

The previous official death toll of 389 came from examinations of marked graves in the 1960s. The panel said it was “confident that the number of deaths in Alderney is unlikely to have exceeded 1,134 people, with a range most likely deaths between 641 and 1,027”.

The minimum number of prisoners sent to Alderney labor camps during the German occupation was between 7,608 and 7,812 people, according to the 93-page report. Almost 100 people died in traffic, in addition to the death toll on the island.

The panel also sought to discover why Britain did not try the German perpetrators for war crimes committed in Alderney. He concluded that a war crimes investigation carried out in Alderney immediately after the war had “an entirely serious intention”. But since most of the victims were Soviet citizens, the case was handed over to the Russians. In exchange, the Germans who murdered British soldiers in Stalag Luft III during the “great escape” were handed over to Great Britain.

“The Soviet Union did not follow up on the Alderney case and was therefore responsible for not bringing the perpetrators to justice, which caused much anger among members of the British government,” the report said.

In 1981, the Observer revealed that senior Nazi officers responsible for the atrocities in Alderney were living freely in Germany.

Lord Pickles said: “As the UK special envoy for post-Holocaust issues, I have come across many discussions about figures. Nothing compares to the vitriol or personal nature of discussions about numbers in Alderney. At a time when parts of Europe are trying to whitewash their history through the Holocaust, the British Isles must tell the unvarnished truth.

“Numbers do matter. It is both a distortion of the Holocaust to exaggerate the number of deaths and to underestimate them. The exaggeration favors Holocaust deniers and undermines the 6 million dead. The truth can never hurt us.”

Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi, welcomed the review’s findings. He said: “It is vital to have an authoritative account of this harrowing element of the island’s history. It allows us to accurately remember the people who suffered and died so tragically on British soil. “Marking relevant sites will now be an appropriate step to ensure this information is widely available.”

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Alderney, a British crown dependency lying about 70 miles from the English coast and 10 miles from the French coast, was occupied by German forces along with Jersey, Guernsey and Sark. The British government had demilitarized the islands, effectively leaving them defenseless as German forces advanced.

Most of Alderney’s 1,500 residents were evacuated to the United Kingdom, but a small number remained. The Nazis established four labor camps on the island, at least one of which later became a concentration camp.

Prisoners were sent to Alderney from more than 20 countries, including Russia, France, Spain and Poland. They were ordered to build the concrete defense network of Hitler’s “Atlantic wall.”

Shortly after the liberation of the islands in 1945, Captain Theodore Pantcheff, a British military researcher, arrived in Alderney. Witnesses told him that prisoners had been beaten, hanged and shot, and that their bodies were often thrown into the sea.