Guernsey Friends of Biberach

Newsletter Guernsey Friends of Biberach April 2021

Reading through the minutes of our committee meetings over the years, I am pleased to see just how much new interaction has taken place between the town of Biberach and the island of Guernsey since the late Deputy Bailiff, Chris Day formed the Guernsey Friends of Biberach in 2003 to act as a focal point and facilitators in friendship.  

In 1997, the Deportees were invited to Biberach in an act of reconciliation.  Interaction has broadened over recent years, from the families with long established personal friendships formed during the internment years such as my mother Gladys Skillett whose second child was the first camp child born in Biberach, the Cockayne family, friends of Peter Haug and others who visited with their children and grandchildren. Guernsey children were our Young Ambassadors and visited schools in Biberach , organised by Ken Wheeler. The Schools Music Centre orchestra have visited and hope to do so again. Reciprocal visits have been made by Biberach families, as well as several young people coming to Guernsey for language and work experience

It is very unfortunate that musical events planned for 2020 both from Guernsey and from Biberach have not taken place due to the coronavirus and restrictions on travel.
There is a possibility of a citizens group coming to Guernsey in 2022, but we have no firm details, but should it happen we will naturally act as a focal and facilitation point if required.

Our strong contact with the Biberach Friends of Guernsey continues. Helga Reisen keeps us up to date with news on behalf of the groups 50 more or less active members and the effects of the pandemic in their town. Several articles have been published in the Biberach newspaper on the virus effect on the daily lives of the people in all their partner towns.
The Biberach Friends of Guernsey will hold a Remembrance meeting to pray and lay flowers on 20th April at the deportee’s graves, and will commemorate on 23rd April the liberation of the former internment camp, Lager Lindele on 23rd April 1945.

Sadly, we are informed of the recent deaths of three members, Marianne Sikora-Schoeck, Eberhard Gohner, Peter Haug, who were instrumental in bringing about reconciliation with the Guernsey deportees.  Their determination, with help from the historian, Reinhold Adler enabled the publication in 2009 by the Biberach Town Archive of the book:

“Guernsey and Biberach Remembering -Coming Together-Becoming Friends”
The book references many stories from Guernsey internees and Biberach townspeople.
Peter Haug was a representative of the St Martins Choirboys from 2010 -2015. The choir visited Guernsey, several times and impressed all who attended performances and helped with accommodation.  The choir were outstanding Ambassadors for Biberach.

The Guernsey Friends of Biberach Association has been active in fulfilling the aims of our written constitution and our thanks go to all our volunteers. Unfortunately, enhanced reasons for governing charities locally, changes to costs in banking, and data protection have all affected this friendship group’s ability to function and led to us now looking to simplify our status as discussed and approved at our EGM on 19th April 2021.

Gloria Dudley-Owen

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