A book titled ‘Voices from the Occupation: Recollections of daily life under the Reich’ has been published by Maillards Funeral Directors.
The book has been created by local author, Penny Byrne and illustrator, Liz Wackett. It was conceptualised and sponsored by Maillards and kindly supported by Alpha Print.
The extraordinary compilation of over 80 Islander’s memories includes those from the Austrian-born interpreter who’s cunning and bravery managed to save 40 families from deportation, to the teacher who ingeniously taught each of his pupils a single German word so that he could, apparently randomly, call out names and have them answer correctly when the annual inspection for compulsory German came around.
Julian De La Cour, Managing Director at Maillards Funeral Directors told Channel Eye: “Maillards Funeral Directors was a local business which traded through the war and which has been a part of the fabric of Island life for almost a century. We hear of such wonderful stories as we meet families, so all felt a strong need for these stories to be shared more widely.
“The book, which forms part of our Celebrating Life initiative is a way to preserve them in a way that will educate and inform future generations and keep these stories alive.”
Penny Byrne, local author and creator of the book says: “I was so excited when Maillards approached me to ask if I’d be interested in working on this project. It has been such an immense privilege to get to read so many extraordinary stories, quite a number of which had never been shared before. I hope people find it as fascinating
to read as it has been to create.”
Throughout the month of May, 1,000 copies will be distributed free of charge to Occupation Veterans, contributors, local schools and historical organisations. The remaining 500 copies are currently available for the public to purchase at £9.99 from The Cooperative Grande Marche (St. Helier and St. Peter), Market Cards (Central Market), Jersey War Tunnels as well as online here.
Proceeds from the sale of the 500 copies will be put towards the Maillards ‘Make A Wish Fund’, a local community initiative that funds special wishes for local people, to positively impact their social, emotional or mental well-being. To learn more visit here.
About Celebrating Life
With its emblem as the Jersey Lily, the purpose of the Maillards Celebrating Life initiative is to be a beacon of positivity for all islanders who deserve a special wish to make their later life extraordinary. Celebrating Life will see Maillards sponsor and support various local people and causes.
2021 will see the launch of three other community projects; The Jersey Lily Project, Maillards Make a Wish and Colourful is the new Black.
Photography courtesy of Cameron Aird.