Posts Tagged Germany

Channel Islands Occupied – Unique Pictures Of The Nazi Rule 1940-1945

Channel Islands Occupied – Unique Pictures Of The Nazi Rule 1940-1945.  Richard Mayne.  Jarrold & Sons Limited, Norwich, Norfolk, England. 1978.  ISBN 978-0711702448 Card cover.  64 pages.  channelislenazirule

I LOVE READING and I also like to support different charities.  I’m able to combine both of these interests by purchasing books at various charity shops. The books are usually in reasonable nick and are a fraction of their original price.  Therefore, when I came across Channel Islands Occupied in a charity shop a while ago, I was more than happy to pay the princely sum of 50p for it.

Compiled, and with a commentary, by Richard Mayne, it relates to the occupation of the Channel Islands – made up of Alderney, Guernsey, Jersey and Sark, and some smaller islands – by National Socialist Germany during WWII.  At 64 pages, it’s not a huge book.  However, I liked its convenient size – it’s roughly the same as a large postcard so you can keep it in a jacket pocket.  My copy also had reasonably thick cardboard cover which wouldn’t bend too easily.

The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by German Armed Forces (around 20,000 troops held the islands) during WWII and this book is absolutely crammed full of evocative photographs of the period.  Reflecting the history and makeup of the islands themselves, all text and captions are in English and French – indeed, the French title of the book is Les Iles Anglo-Normandes Occupées.

The book is dedicated to ‘the memory of the known five hundred and fifty-seven ‘slave’ workers, mainly Russian and Spanish, who died in these islands between 1942 and 1944.’

Richard Mayne sets the scene in his dramatic Introduction:

‘In 1940 Hitler’s legions swept rapidly and violently through France, and on 12 June the swastika, that hated symbol of Nazi Germany, was flown from public buildings in Paris.  With the fall of the rest of France imminent, the German occupation of the Channel Islands also became inevitable. 

There was voluntary evacuation to Britain of the civilian population of the islands and about 34,500 people departed, leaving a population of some 64,000.  In Alderney, the evacuation was so thorough that only 7 people remained out of a population of 1,432.  At the same time, the British Government demilitarised the islands by withdrawing British troops.  The Jersey Militia subsequently became the 11th Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment.  The Guernsey Militia had previously been disbanded to release hundreds of men to volunteer for H.M. forces.’

Channel Islands Occupied is conveniently and effectively set out in chronological order – before, during and after the occupation.  Headings like The calm before the storm, German Command, Fortification, Liberation are all accompanied by a commentary plus many photographs.  However, it’s still possible to dip in and out of it at your leisure – something I did many times.

The full colour cover is striking enough, but the hundred or so fascinating black & white photographs are the highlights of the book.  I’ve read a lot of history books, but I don’t really know too much about the occupation and I’ve never come across any of these photographs before.  They include images of bomb damage, the German military, fortifications, weapons, and the ‘slave’ workers.  Of particular note are photographs of various German proclamations and death warrants.

One photograph is a favourite of mine – it depicts a van belonging to the Jersey Gas Company which has been converted to run on gas.  A massive gas bag sits incongruously on top of the van – it’s truly a bizarre sight as it looks slightly larger than the van itself! – but apparently, there’s enough to fuel the van to cover a distance of 30 miles.

A fairly small photograph also caught my eye.  It depicted the words ‘British Victory Is Certain’ painted over a German language road sign in Jersey.  It made me wonder what the level and type of resistance to the occupation of the Channel Isles was like.  This interests me because I’m sure I’ve come across suggestions that some of the leading lights of island society didn’t exactly go out of their way to oppose the occupation.  I have a vague notion that one of the people who first mentioned this was, ironically, a former member of the British Free Corps, a volunteer unit of the Waffen SS made up of former British PoWs.  Hopefully, I’ll come across the source material again as I believe it’d make an interesting piece for this site.

I’ve wanted to visit the Channel Island for a long time now as a former workmate recommended the area years ago as an ideal holiday destination.  Like me, he was very interested in history – he was also a great fan of the TV programme Bergerac, which starred John Nettles and Louise Jameson, and which was filmed there.  In fact, he was the first person I’d ever come across who would go of his way to visit various TV and film locations – something that seems to be very common these days, given the success of films like Harry Potter and the TV series Game Of Thrones.

Channel Islands Occupied is a great introduction to this little known period of British and German military history.  It has certainly whetted my appetite for more information.  Needless to say, that reading it has deepened the desire to visit as I understand that it’s possible to visit some of the fortifications and associated museums.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to do that in the not too distant future and obviously produce a follow-up article for Counter Culture.

  • Reviewed by John Field

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Majorca Daily Bulletin

WHENEVER I’m away from home I always try to pick up a local paper. It doesn’t matter where the paper is from – anywhere in the English speaking world does me just fine. I really enjoy reading them right the way through from front to back (and from back to front if the sports news is really interesting!)

As well as reading what the paper has to say for itself I also love to see how the paper looks. I’ve always had an interest in layout and design so this aspect

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of the media really fascinates me. My view is that there’s no point in having a brilliant article if no one reads it because of a bad layout. (This latter aspect would be particularly important for any commercial paper, where making a profit is the bottom line for the owners. If no one’s buying the paper – because of its bad layout – then their profits go out of the window.)
Whilst on a recent (and all-too-brief) family holiday in Majorca I came across the Majorca Daily Bulletin (1). Written to an excellent standard – and at 1 Euro for 32 pages – I thought it represented excellent value.

This English language daily is on sale throughout the Balearic Islands – Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera. It appears to be part of a much larger Spanish-based media group, Grupo Serra. Other publications in its stable include Ultima Hora (2) and Mallorca Magazin (3).

One thing that immediately struck me about the Majorca Daily Bulletin was its editorial independence. One would think that the safe and logical thing to do for this paper – especially as it’s wholly pitched at the (foreign) English-speaking community – would be to toe the government line. But the Bulletin doesn’t.

The independence of the Bulletin was demonstrated by Editor (Jason Moore) in his Viewpoint article of September 24. This noted that:
“The Madrid government was busy toasting a record August for tourism yesterday with foreign tourists spending billions in Spain last month. But not everybody was celebrating yesterday. Infact, in bars and restaurants across Majorca the champagne was very much on ice. The official figures tell a story; a rise in the number of tourists who spent more money. The big winners were naturally the hoteliers and the losers were the small army of bar and restaurant owners across the country who saw their takings fall because of an increase in all inclusive holidays and the recession.”

I thought that this was a good – and balanced – view. I presume that tourism is the lifeblood of the Balearics and no one would want to ‘rock the boat’ when it came to this subject. However, the Majorca Daily Bulletin saw right through government waffle and pr spin. The paper got to the heart of the matter – the survival of the local economy via small independent shopkeepers and traders. There’s a worrying trend whereby small indigenous shops are squeezed out existence by big business. If it continues, then all we’ll be left with is an ‘identikit’ world. I don’t know about you but when I go away I like to see and experience a bit of local culture – and this includes the shops!

Away from taking the government to task, the paper has a great mixture of home (Majorca) news as well as several pages covering Britain and the World. I’ve a sneaking feeling that Gerry Mulligan’s Crimewatch page is a ‘must read’ for lots of folks. The Balearics appear to attract drug dealers by the score but as Gerry notes, the Guardia Civil are successfully “weeding” out these criminals!
The Bulletin also features several interesting sports pages. I particularly liked its football coverage. With so many people enjoying their holiday in Majorca, it carried reports from England, Spain, Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands.

However, one of the best sports articles was written by Monro Bryce – Squeaky Bum Time At Son Moix! It reported on Real Mallorca’s game against Mirandes in the Spanish Premier League. This was a great example of a fans point of view. His report was full of passion. There was constructive criticism of the club – a “Jekyll and Hyde outfit” – but a deep love as well.

I loved his acknowledgement of Real Mallorca’s Ultras: “A special mention must go to our Ultras at the North end curve, they sang all game – it would have brought a tear to a glass eye.”

I also really loved his description of watching his local team – “fans squirming in their seats as one’s team’s fortunes wax and wane” – but all that squirming must have paid off as Real Mallorca won!!
(1) http://majorcadailybulletin.com/
(2) http://ultimahora.es/
(3) http://mallorcamagazin.com/
Reviewed by John Field

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I, the Dictator

I, THE DICTATOR

Teatr Wiczy

New Town Theatre,George street.  Venue 7

JUST THREE people turned up to see this woeful production.  Perhaps I ought to have taken this a warning.  A man clad only in underpants stood centre-stage clutching a length of celluloid film. He’s Charlie Chaplin, apparently preparing to shoot the last scene of his film, The Great Dictator which satirised Hitler’sGermany and Mussolini’sItaly.

There were elements of tapdance, jazz and mime but your reviewer was past caring by this time.  I was startled back into wakefulness when the solo performer stood bullock-naked in front of me with his trousers around his ankles.  I couldn’t see any relevance to the plot. Great Dick-tator perhaps? Mercifully the end came and three intrepid theatregoers were able to make our escape out into the heavyEdinburghrain.

 

Reviewed by David Kerr

 

** Two Stars

www.wicza.com

 

www.universalartsfestival.com

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Sagittarius – Songs From The Ivory Tower

Sagittarius – Songs From The Ivory Tower (Cold Spring Records)

SONGS From The Ivory Tower – has any album title ever more succinctly summed up the elitist and idealist aspirations of neo-folk and martial industrial music? Sagittarius is the solo project of German musician Cornelius Waldner, and Songs From The Ivory Tower is the band’s second album following 2003’s Die Große Marina, released as a limited edition vinyl LP by Renovation Verlag, and still available as a free download from the Sagittarius website and from Neo-Form magazine (www.neo-form.de). For the recording of Songs…, Cornelius Waldner has assembled a formidable array of guest musicians, including Marcel P. of Von Thronstahl, Halgadom etc., Herr Twiggs of Kammer Sieben, Damiano Mercuri of Rose Rovine E Amanti, Troy Southgate of H.E.R.R. and Seelenlicht, and Philipp Jonas of Secrets Of The Moon.

Songs… opens with a song in English, Nihil Arisen. Cornelius Waldner’s wistful piano finds an apt counterfoil in Philipp Jonas’ guitar, as Waldner intones the mournful lyrics in a clear, simple spoken recitative. The general effect is similar to Golgatha or some of Karsten Hamre’s (Penitent, Arcane Art) work. However, the song is marred by the words simply not fitting the rhythm of the music, which is a shame. Fortunately, nearly all of the album’s remaining tracks are either instrumentals or in German, so this problem doesn’t arise again. The following four songs form a sort of suite, all being based on poems by Timo Kölling, the former editor of the German black metal magazine Moondance and a member of Trist. All the lyrics are given in the album booklet, but without English translations, so you’re on your own there. Musically, the songs are dominated by neo-classical piano work. Marcel P. contributes cello to Du Stehst Am Alten Gartentor Und Schweigst and An Des Meeres Strand and An Des Meeres Strand features vocals by Herr Twiggs, who arguably has a deeper, richer voice than Waldner.

Later songs feature lyrics by other German poets, including Stefan George, Bernhard von Uxkull-Gyllenband, Gottfried Benn and Ludwig Uhland. Of these, the most famous is undoubtedly Stefan George, whose Das Lied is the seventh track on Songs…, with the vocals being handled by Marcel P. Cornelius Waldner contributes piano and flute, at least according to the album notes, but this doesn’t sound like a concert flute to me, more like a wooden flute or recorder.

The following song, Der Gute Kamerad has vocals by Troy Southgate. Now, those who have read my previous reviews of H.E.R.R. and Seelenlicht will know that I’m not the most ardent admirer of Troy Southgate’s vocal stylings, but here, he’s not half bad. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that this is the most enjoyable work I’ve heard so far from him – his voice suits the material, it melds well with Damiano Mercurio’s acoustic guitar, and overall it sounds quite a bit like Ian Read of Fire +Ice. A stately, formalist minuet by Johann Krieger follows, also with Damiano Mercurio on guitar and more of that mysterious flute.

The thirteenth song is Europa Calling, a cover version of the song originally recorded by Forthcoming Fire, but made famous by the several different renditions of it released by Josef K.’s subsequent band, Von Thronstahl. This song has become something of a neo-folk anthem, a rallying cry for the Children of the Black Sun to rival Death In June’s Runes And Men, and Sagittarius fully do it justice:

Don’t you hear Europa calling
For him who leads the children home…

(This song, incidentally, is not to be confused with the Sol Invictus song of the same name, which is also very fine, but is entirely unrelated.)

The album concludes with a bonus track, The Song, an English rendition of Das Lied, with Tory Southgate again handling the vocals, and again sounding good. Apart from my reservations about the opening track’s clunky lyrics, Songs From The Ivory Tower is an effortlessly pleasant listen, with many talented musicians playing real instruments, strong lyrics and beautiful neo-classical arrangements. Praise and plaudits to all involved – this is another quality release from Cold Spring fit to stand beside Von Thronstahl, Rose Rovine E Amanti and Werkraum at the more melodic end of the Cold Spring roster.

www.sagittarius.de

www.myspace.com/marblecliff

www.coldspring.co.uk

www.myspace.com/coldspring

Reviewed by Simon Collins. Reprinted with acknowledgements to Judas Kiss web-zine.

Songs From The Ivory Tower by Sagittarius is available from: http://www.coldspring.co.uk/discography/csr89cd.php

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Edinburgh Fringe 2010: HITLER ALONE

Hitler Alone ****

Venue 257

Interlingua, 29 Hanover Street

21-26 August

Reviewed by David Kerr

This year seems to be the season for one-man-shows about monstrous dictators. Choose between Mussolini at the Hill Street Thratre and his protégé and successor Adolf Hitler at Venue 28.

The scene is set in the doomed fuehrer’s bunker a few hours before his death as the Red Army battles for control of Berlin. The simple stage in a tiny room draws out that bunker-like sense of claustrophobia. In front of a huge swastika banner, sits a single chair and a small table on which sits a framed picture of Hitler’s mother.

Paul Weston’s Hitler rants and raves, then calms down for a bit as he recalls some of his triumphs and disasters. At times, Weston’s Hitler comes across as vunerable and human; the rest of the time as the demonic monster of legend.

Webster’s intense performance is chillingly mesmerising and even at times sympathetic as the Great Dictator walks out the door to meet his final destiny.

**** four stars

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