Nazi occupied site to be demolished in Guernsey

A wall defaced by Nazi propaganda will be torn down to accommodate a new housing project in the Channel Islands.

A Nazi eagle, swastika and two propaganda slogans daubed on a 1930s school wall during the Second World War were uncovered by a historic preservation group last summer.

The Boys' Grammar School wall in Guernsey was used by soldiers during the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands.

But now the wall, which the Festung Guernsey group spent 10 weeks uncovering, will be demolished to make way for a Guernsey Housing Association-led redevelopment project. It will provide social housing for more than 100 people.

Phil Roussel, development manager for the Guernsey Housing Association, said: “We’re demolishing a substantial amount of the building – including the wall. The quality of the slogans was so diminished that it’s not good enough to keep.

“Guernsey was occupied by the Germans during the Second World War. Afterwards, many of the local islanders were less than enthusiastic about reminders of the occupation and tried to remove what was on that wall.

“We’ve got lots of stuff that was left behind from the German occupation – this is low-key by comparison.

“It's just standing there, no one really knew about it. I went to the school many years ago and never knew it was there."

Paul Bourgaize, a Festung Guernsey project co-ordinator, said the display was "one of a number of murals — it's unusual to find evidence of them as they're usually destroyed or removed.

"Because the paint was gone, we recreated what was there from what we could find."

The group, who started the renovation project in October 2012, have managed to remove a hut from the site.

"We're not sure what the hut was, but it could have been a slave workers' hut and it's important to recover it," added Mr Bourgaize.

Reverend Malcolm Weisman, who is heavily involved in the nearby Jersey Jewish Congregation, said: “As long as there’s no memorial on the wall, it’s probably better that it’s destroyed. On the other hand, if it removes a reminder of what did happen – it ought to be kept.”

Harry Gold, a Jewish Guernsey resident for around 20 years and Jersey Jewish Congregation member, said: “I see both sides of the argument, on the one hand it has historical value, on the other the sooner they get rid of such things the better.”

Last updated: 11:27am, January 25 2013