Guernsey Friends of Biberach

Volksbund students visit Guernsey

Guernsey recently welcomed 24 young ambassadors from the Volksbund (German War Graves Commission) for a short stay, part of the official summer student programme, complete with Linden/Lime tree, all the way from Biberach. Many thanks to Condor Ferries for kindly transporting the important cargo at no charge.

The group, all from the Biberach area, stayed at the Rue Mainguy Scout ground and had a busy schedule of activities that included visits to the States of Guernsey Archives, Castle Cornet, the German Occupation Museum and meeting with the Friends of Biberach.

Thursday 13 August was the climax of the visit with a moving and memorable service at the Fort George Military Cemetery, where the symbolic Linden/Lime tree was finally planted and Guernsey’s Bailiff, Sir Richard Collas, attached the Guernsey flag to join the flags of so many other proud nations where previous student trips from the Volksbund had carried out other similar summer projects. We were proud to have such a lovely group of people spend time with us on our island. And we hope that our relationship with the Volksbund will continue to flourish, just as the Lime tree will grow and strengthen the bonds of friendship…

Visit of the volunteers from the German War Graves commission to Guernsey

Wednesday 12th August

Occupation Museum and Friends of Biberach

By Gloria Dudley-Owen, Chairperson, Friends of Biberach

“We met Herr Klaus Knoll leader and the young volunteers from the German War Graves Commission, at the Occupation Museum.  Richard Heaume, the owner of the Museum, welcomed the group and explained what they had on display and how he had started the museum as a teenager.

The group spent time viewing the area devoted to the deportations and viewing the model of the original Biberach camp made and presented to our island by the German police and trainees who now occupy new accommodation on the site of the former camp.

Herr Knoll had expressed an interest in the deportation to Germany of British people and was keen to meet children born in Biberach.

David Skillett and Gloria  Dudley-Owen, his sister were born there, and Deputy Francis Quin  who had been taken there as a very young child, met the group.

Our father Sidney Skillet had taken up painting whilst in the camp, and we were able to show some of his pictures.

David read out an extract from our father’s diary in which he recorded details of his visit to the hospital to see my mother and his new son.  He also expressed his surprise when on his second visit, Sister Anni, the Red Cross nurse who walked from the camp with him into the town, pointed him in the direction of the hospital and told him to go off alone.  He was a little anxious as he wondered how he would he cope if he got lost as he did not speak any German! An Englishman wandering around in wartime Germany!

I had already sent to Herr Knoll my notes concerning why and how the deportations had occurred and also my mother’s story of how her long lasting friendship with a German lady had come about at the time when both were in the Biberach hospital giving birth on the same day to their sons, Heiner Koch and David Skillett.

The group then spent time looking around the museum, and were very impressed with all they saw and learnt.”






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