Life in Occupied Guernsey
The Diaries of Ruth Ozanne 1940-1945
15th August 2011
One woman's daily record of life in Guernsey during the German occupation.
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The diaries of Ruth Ozanne give us a remarkable eyewitness account of daily life during the German occupation of Guernsey from 1940 to 1945. At the beginning of the occupation, there is an atmosphere of good-humoured defiance on the Island. The relatively few German soldiers are on their best behaviour and the Islanders are bolstered by a stream of optimistic rumours. Life gradually darkens, however, as vastly more arms and troops arrive, supported by Organisation Todt labourers, to make the Island part of Hitler's Atlantic Wall. Luxuries quickly disappear and severe food shortages make the struggle to survive considerably tougher. Periodic RAF raids and German artillery shatter the grim peace. The black market thrives while foreign labourers beg for food. There are deportations and many privations. Towards the end, both the Islanders and the occupying army are starving. Through it all, Ruth meticulously records the rumours, the rations, the scandals, the trials and the tribulations of life under the Nazis as she and her friend and housekeeper Florence battle to care for their home, their elderly relatives and 'gallant' Garry - Ruth's Highland Terrier. She writes with a dry wit and her diaries are testament to the resilience, resourcefulness and humanity of Guernsey people during the Second World War.