IHRA Delegation visits Alderney as part of project on safeguarding sites

On 26 and 27 September, IHRA's Safeguarding Sites project team will be visiting the Channel Island of Alderney, the third largest of five Islands. This five-year IHRA project will include visits to five different sites related to the Holocaust and the genocide of the Roma with the aim of drawing upon findings to help create heritage guidelines for best practice. When adopted by IHRA member countries, these guidelines will help inform site managers and other stakeholders in their endeavour to safeguard such sites in the 21st century.

This tour of Holocaust-related sites in Alderney by experts follows a preliminary visit made in July by the Head and Deputy Head of the UK IHRA Delegation, Lord Eric Pickles and Sally Sealey, along with project chair, Dr Gilly Carr, also of the UK delegation. On that occasion, a preliminary tour of the most important sites was made, followed by a meeting with the States of Alderney, the members of the local parliament. On this occasion, a more in-depth exploration of a greater number of sites is expected, followed by a day of meetings with team members and the States of Alderney.

The expert team will comprise Dr Gilly Carr, Sally Sealey, project team members Dr Steven Cooke (Australian delegation), Dr Alicja Białecka (Polish delegation), Ophelia Leon (an invited expert advisor from ICMEMO), and project research assistant Margaret Comer (University of Cambridge).

The Channel Islands were the only British territory to be occupied by German forces during WWII. Unlike in the other islands, almost the entire population of 2,000 people were evacuated together from Alderney to the UK days before German troops arrived. In the population's absence, two concentration camps and three slave labour camps were constructed in this island of 3 miles by 1.5 miles. Recent geophysical surveys in the area of site of the cemetery where the dead prisoners were buried indicates that this was a show cemetery around which small mass graves may still exist.

IHRA Delegates visit Alderney, in the Channel Islands. Photo courtesy of Alderney Press.