Jersey Occupation files which were stolen in the early 1990s and thought lost forever have been recovered and returned to the island.
Thousands of documents, including Occupation material, were stolen from a room above the Bailiff’s Chambers in 1992 and while almost all of them were recovered a handful were still outstanding and believed lost.
However, following a tip off from an expert, the States of Jersey Police tracked some of the remaining documents to Guernsey and with the help of officers there seized them and brought them back to Jersey for verification.
Approximately 500 papers have been recovered which include files relating to
• The treatment of Jewish people in Jersey including the publication of orders against the Jews, registration of Jews and the sale of Jewish Businesses
• The rationing and control of textiles and footwear - including the use of old motor tyres as footwear towards the end of the Occupation
• Billeting of German Soldiers and costs paid by the States of Jersey for billeting
• Slaughter of animals and food rationing
These documents have huge historical significance to Jersey and in 2011 the others in the collection were inscribed on the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register. The register includes records which embody pivotal moments in the history of their communities and Great Britain as a whole.
This listing shows the importance of the material to the Island and also to the worldwide community - the files meticulously detail the Island's experience of Occupation and the recovery of these missing files will add to the island’s understanding of a significant period in both local and world history.
The Bailiff, Sir Michael Birt, said: “I am very pleased that these files have been recovered. These documents record an important era in Jersey’s history and it is reassuring to know that they are now in the hands of Jersey Archive. I would like to thank all those involved in their recovery, especially the Police in Jersey and Guernsey.”
Linda Romeril, Head of Collections at Jersey Archive, said: “'We are delighted that these files have been retrieved and can now join the rest of the Bailiff's Chambers Archive in secure, environmentally controlled storage at Jersey Archive. These documents are a unique part of Jersey's written history and they can now be cared for and studied by current and future generations.”
Following the theft these documents appear to have changed hands a number of times seemingly without knowledge of their worth and eventually ending up in Guernsey.
However, following the cataloguing of the files we now know that some of the original documents are still missing and officers are using the opportunity to appeal for them to be handed over.
Detective Sergeant Louise Clayson said: “We know that around 93% of the documents were recovered in the early 90s. This seizure accounts for another 2% of them meaning around 5% are still unaccounted for.
“These documents have huge historical value to the island and document the island’s struggles throughout the Occupation. We are now taking this opportunity to ask islanders for their assistance in recovering the outstanding documents. If you know of their whereabouts or you have them in your possession then please contact us so that we can repatriate them to the Jersey Archives, their rightful home. Details of the files still outstanding are available upon request from the Archives or CID. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact us on 612612 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”
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