Documentary explores British isle that had concentration camps

The Nazis burned most of the records on Alderney, so there was no telling how many prisoners were killed there.

By CURT SCHLEIER/JTA
June 19, 2019 08:54
1 minute read.
Documentary explores British isle that had concentration camps

A flower lies in the train tracks at Gleis 17 memorial in Berlin, where thousands of Holocaust victims were deported to concentration camps. (photo credit: THOMAS PETER/REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later



(JTA) — Many are familiar with the names of the larger Nazi concentration camps like Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. But some estimate the Nazis had as many as 40,000 satellite camps around Europe.

Several existed on the only British soil conquered by the Nazis: Alderney, one of the Channel Islands, where the Nazis imported thousands of slave laborers to build defenses in hopes of conquering more English land.



Caroline Sturdy Colls, a British professor and forensic archaeologist perhaps best known for her 2014 documentary on Treblinka, explores the island in a documentary called “Adolf Island” airing June 23 on the Smithsonian Channel. While she was forced to tears in the making of “Treblinka: Hitler’s Killing Machine,” her experience on Alderney is a little different — she’s mostly angry.



Colls starts her research journey at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. The most notorious camp on Alderney was Sylt, built and run by the SS-Totenkopfverbände, or Death’s Head squads.



The Nazis burned most of the records on Alderney, so there was no telling how many prisoners were killed there. But a couple of clues survived a last-minute Nazi attempt at a cover-up.



One was a Royal Air Force aerial photo taken toward the end of the war that seemed to indicate disturbed ground near the official cemetery. The other was a letter from Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler to the camp commander ordering “no surrender,” and to “shoot all the prisoners without hesitation” if the Allies attacked.



Colls’ original plan was to study and then excavate some promising areas, but she soon received notice from the local government that excavation was prohibited even though she had received permission from the landowner.



So she brought in some high tech, including drone-mounted laser gear. But the government foiled that, too, prompting the professor’s outrage.



You cannot imagine, she says, “how angry and absolutely horrified I am at the character of these people,” who “want to forget.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

July 20, 2019
The Jewish reporter who brought the moon landing into America’s homes

By JOSEFIN DOLSTEN/JTA

Cookie Settings