'Such brutality, doesn't bare thinking about': The niece of a WW2 prisoner visits the place he died

  • In Part 3 of our series, 'The Ultimate Sacrifice', Sophie Dulson takes George Fox's niece, Sandra Wakeham, to visit his final resting place.

During the Second World War at least 220 Channel Islanders were deported to Nazi prisons, labour camps and concentration camps for offences against the German authorities.

The Nazi prisons they were sent to included Saint-Lô Prison and Fort d’Hauteville Prison in France and Frankfurt am Main-Preungesheim Prison and Naumburg Prison in Germany, amongst many others.

These prisons would have housed political prisoners and people the Nazis deemed to be undesirable. George Fox from Jersey was one of them.

George was sentenced by the court of the Field Command 515 to two years’ imprisonment for ‘continual larceny’ Credit: ITV Channel

George was sent to various Nazi prisons across Europe after he was sentenced and deported from Jersey for stealing bread from the Germans.

George was deported from Jersey to France on the 13th of July 1943. He was first sent to Saint-Lô Prison in Northwestern France where he was held for a short while before being transferred to Fort d’Hauteville on the 19th of July.

Later that year George was transferred out of Fort d’Hauteville in France to Saarbrücken Prison in Germany.

Just over two weeks later the Nazis decided to transfer all prisoners from Saarbrücken Prison to Frankfurt. It was here George spent almost seven months in Frankfurt am Main Preungesheim Prison, before making his final journey to Naumburg.

George spent almost a year at Naumburg Prison in Germany. Credit: ITV Channel

George was one of 11 Channel Islanders sent to Naumburg Prison. Only three survived.

Historian, Dr Gilly Carr explains the types of forced labour these prisoners would have endured: "There were two forms of forced labour that the Channel Islanders did; one of them was to make clogs out in the yard and the other one later in the war was digging for unexploded bombs in a nearby town."

Historian Dr Gilly Carr explains to George's niece, Sandra, what conditions would have been like for prisoners in Naumburg. Credit: ITV Channel

George's niece, Sandra Wakeham, has visited Naumburg Prison for herself, to see the prison her Uncle spent his final days.

She said: "I have a mixture of trying not to imagine what it was like for people, for George, his friends here it's almost too much. It is almost unbelievable that people can do things to people, for no good reasons."

George died in Naumburg on the 11th March 1945, just a month before the prison was liberated.

The cause of death was septicaemia following a cut on his thumb, however, it is believed he would have been so weak at that time that his body would have been unable to fight off any infection.

George is buried alongside three other Channel Islanders (Clifford Bond Querée, Frederick William Page and Emile Paisnel) at the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Berlin.

Four Channel Islanders are buried side by side at the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Berlin. Credit: ITV Channel

George's niece, Sandra, visited the Berlin War cemetery to say goodbye to the Uncle she never had the chance to meet.

She laid a single rose for each Channel Islander buried there, who never made the journey home.

George is buried in plot 9, row G, at the Berlin War cemetery. Credit: ITV Channel

She said: "I'm here today and I'm remembering that I was born on the 5th of March 45 and George died on the 11th of March 45, so there was one baby born and one person going and it's marvelous to be here, it's a beautiful place."

Watch Part 1 and Part 2 of the series below: