The Island of Dread In the Channel
- Brian Bonnard
15th May 2009
Georgi Kondakov was sixteen years old when he was brought to Alderney in August 1942 with about 1,000 other young Russians to build part of Hitler's Atlantic Wall defences. During this time he suffered the hardships of having little nourishing food, inadequate clothing, occasional beatings, no medical attention and hard manual work twelve hours a day; under such harsh conditions many people died. Some of the survivors were taken back to France in 1943. Georgi escaped from the train taking them to Germany and joined the French Resistance in Paris. Two years after his return to Russia, when the War ended, he was sent to a Siberian labour camp by Stalin, where he endured even worse conditions for 4A years before being allowed home to Orel in 1951. Many years later, the interchange of a long series of Georgi's letters, translated by Galina Chernakova, resulted in this book which offers an insight into the experiences of a slave-worker and his return to Alderney, as an honoured guest, in 1990.