Guernsey Friends of Biberach

Guernsey Newsletter, April 2019

Dear Friends,
The activities of the Guernsey Friends of Biberach Association.

2018 Review

GFBA welcomed and greeted a group of 30 from the Biberach Friends in May who stayed at Les Cotils. Their busy itinerary included visits to Sark, Herm, most of the museums, Victor Hugo house, a town walk with guide Ken Wheeler. They thoroughly enjoyed meeting the Bailiff in his Chambers and hearing about his role and our history. On a beautiful day, I hosted a walk to Lihou island, the orchid fields followed by tea and cakes for 40 people at my home. I thank everybody who helped out.

Many from the group listened to the recording made during the Liberation service at St. Peters Church when I spoke of my parent’s experience interned in Biberach from 1942-45 and of my mother’s deep, lasting friendship with Maria Koch. Both gave birth to sons, on the same day. Maria’s kindness to my mother “the enemy” started in the Biberach hospital.

We had pleasure in meeting on his first visit, Hans-Werner Ast whose father, Georg-August had been stationed in Guernsey during the war and had forged a life- long friendship with Frank and Beatrice Cochrane whom he regarded as his “war parents”. The GFBA contacted the press and his story was published as “A miracle in a time of war and hostility”.

We welcome and try to help all visitors from Biberach to enjoy our beautiful island and to leave with an understanding of all our history. The GFBA thoroughly enjoy these visits and the friendships that have been created which is part of the aim of our group.

The Association supported the Biberach Friends of Guernsey in preparing for the exhibition in the Biberach museum about the camp history. The exhibition was well attended and aspects of this will remain as a permanent feature within the museum whilst borrowed items have been returned to the kind lenders. Jose Day, who attended with members of her family has given us an interesting account of her visit to Biberach and the exhibition.

The Committee continued to liaise with the Music Service. Events in Guernsey for 2020 have been planned which also include local choirs.

The Committee has also spent time in reflecting on the purpose and future of the Association. At this time we are no longer able to send Young Ambassadors to Biberach but will continue to act and help various groups where we are able. We are looking to amend our constitution which will be put for member approval at the AGM. 

The Committee is pleased to announce that a longstanding member of the Association, Patricia Holland, has been awarded the British Empire Medal for her work for charity both in Guernsey and Romania. Congratulations Pat!

Committee vacancies

If you are interested in joining the Committee please put yourself forward for election at the AGM.  The current vacancies are: Treasurer, Secretary and Education/Youth Coordinator.

2019 outlook

German Language Course in Biberach

Every year Biberach holds a one-week intensive German course for young people from its partner towns. The course is advertised for people over 18, but if the young people have their parents’ permission younger people such as GCSE students would also be welcome. This year’s course will be from 22 to 27 July 2019. If you are interested, do look at the Guernsey – Biberach website for details or get in touch directly with the Town of Biberach’s Kulturamt: Their Secretary is Sabine Engelhardt.

Gloria Dudley-Owen

Chair

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