Prison camp victims win backing to sue Germany

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The Independent Online
BRITISH-BORN people interned in Second World War German prison camps yesterday won backing from the Jersey parliament to sue the German government for reparations totalling pounds 300,000, writes Esther


Members voted unanimously to support ex-internees' demands for compensation, calling on the Government to take up the matter of reparations with Germany.

Campaigners claim that 2,000 deportees were starved, deprived of sanitary arrangements and forced to live with the daily threat of execution. Parcels from the Red Cross saved many but more than 50 are thought to have died.

Survivors of the camps have been pushing for compensation since 1986. So far the German government has refused. It says claims for reparations have to be made within a 50-year period.

Anne Friend, a campaigner who was born in Bibeich, a 'family' camp in southern Germany, says she is pursuing the matter for the principle, not for the money.

'My parents lived with threat of execution for more than two years,' she said. 'They decided that if it came to it I would be shot first. I was two years old. They did not want me to be abused if they were shot and I was left on my own.'

Britain has refused to pursue the issue with the German government. It says matters of compensation were settled in 1964.

Invading Jersey was the closest Hitler got to setting foot on British soil. When the British army evacuated the islands in 1940, Hitler read it as an open invitation.