09 January 2020
On 9 May 2020, it will be 75 years since Jersey was liberated from occupation and the end of the Second World War. The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied during the war, and their conquest was viewed by the occupying forces as a stepping-stone to the full invasion of Britain.
This year’s anniversary – Liberation 75 – is especially important as it provides an opportunity to share the stories of those who lived through the Occupation. As such, Liberation 75, promises to be the largest and most extensive celebration of Jersey that we have ever hosted. A varied programme of events and projects are planned that span art, culture, sport and education.
The official Liberation 75 logo is inspired by the first-hand account of Islander, Enid de Gruchy, who was born on 28 February 1941. Enid was four when Jersey was liberated and is alive and well today. She recalls going into St Helier on Liberation Day with her family and being given her first ever sweet by a soldier. A few weeks later, when food packages were imported into the Island, she was given an orange. She remembers this clearly because it was the first orange she had ever seen, and she didn’t know what to do with it. Fittingly, the logo portrays not only the handing over of Liberation to future generations, but symbolises the meaning of Liberation, its experiences and emotions.
The designer of the official Liberation 75 campaign logo is Enid’s granddaughter, Emma Le Gallais, who works for the Government of Jersey Marketing Team.
In addition to Liberation Day, a programme of celebratory events and outreach projects has been produced by the Liberation 75 team and official partners, including these highlights:
- Operation Outreach – bringing senior citizens who lived through the Occupation and school students together, providing an opportunity for survivors to relay their accounts to the next generation
- Liberation Village – a unique, three-day celebration featuring numerous entertainment, food and activity zones and themed days
- VE75 Festival – a family-friendly festival located in beautiful St. Brelade’s Bay, celebrating Victory in Europe Day
- Jersey Week – a Jersey-wide ‘open house’, showing how both public and private organisations contribute to the Island, providing insight into the history, operation and position of each organisation in Jersey
- Liberation 75 Film Festival – featuring one film screening in each parish. Islanders will vote on which films make the final cut.
Find out more about what's planned
These events and projects were informed by a public consultation group. A group of 72 members of the public met in January 2019 – ranging from members of Occupation interest groups to individuals from creative and cultural organisations, and from senior citizens to students from every higher education school in Jersey.
The key themes from the consultation were:
- desire to keep the memory of Liberation Day going, handing over the knowledge from senior citizens to younger generations
- key groups identified who should be included where practicable: acknowledgement of those who remained on-Island during the Occupation, evacuees, deportees, internees, slave workers and veterans of the Armed Forces
- increase the recognition of the wartime experiences of Jersey and the wider Channel Islands, both locally and internationally
- Liberation Day is a day of thanks and national pride, celebration and remembrance
- Liberation events should not be political
- the Channel Islands must forgive but never forget
Deputy Kevin Pamplin, who chaired the Liberation 75 working group in 2019, said: “Liberation Day is a time for remembrance of those who endured the Occupation and the Second World War, as well as a time for celebration. I am privileged to have met several survivors and their relatives over the past year, and to have heard their incredible and moving first-hand accounts.
"Liberation 75 provides a valuable opportunity for these first-hand experiences to be handed down to younger generations, so that Liberation Day is not just seen as an extra day off work or school. It is a time to remember those who suffered during Occupation and to celebrate our freedom – the freedom that we still enjoy today.
“Liberation 75 also reminds us of the importance of forgiveness and inclusivity in our community. The Liberation 75 programme of celebratory events has been designed for everyone, no matter their age, ethnicity, sex, sexuality, income or background. 2020 will see the biggest and best anniversary celebrations ever held in Jersey, for one and all.”
The Bailiff, Timothy Le Cocq, said: “Working closely with my Chambers, the Liberation 75 working group has been the conduit to pull all interested parties together over the past few months. I am grateful for their work and commitment to establishing such an interesting programme for 2020. It is one I hope will ensure that all Islanders will have an opportunity to remember, learn about and celebrate Liberation Day, and to think about and be proud of Jersey and its identity.
“This anniversary year will be an important time, not only for our senior citizens who had first-hand experience of the Second World War, but also for our younger generations who will ensure the memory and lessons of 1945 are carried forward. It is important that we carry the value of freedom, peace and inclusivity, and learn the lessons of the Occupation.”
Businesses, organisations and individuals are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org with information about any events they would like included on the Liberation75 website and social media. Those on social media are invited to join the conversation at #Lib75 and to follow @Lib75Jsy on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
About Liberation 75
In Jersey, Liberation Day (Jèrriais: Jour d'la Libéthâtion) is celebrated each year on 9 May, to mark the end of the Nazi German Occupation during the Second World War. It is celebrated as Jersey's national day and 2020 mark 75 years of liberation.
The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied during the War, and the conquest of them was viewed by the German occupying forces as a stepping-stone to the full invasion of the rest of Britain.
There is a strong desire to keep the memory of Liberation Day alive – to remember those who were killed and those who survived, as well as to recognise the impact Occupation and Liberation has had on Jersey’s present-day community and identity. Liberation Day also serves to remind us of our commitment to freedom, peace and inclusivity in our society.
This anniversary will, it is hoped, be the biggest and most memorable celebration yet, with an array of exciting, exclusive and modern events taking place throughout 2020. This year’s anniversary specifically focuses on community, inclusivity, reconciliation and education.
Liberation 75 Values, as informed by the 2019 consultation:
- Community – to be inclusive and aligned in celebrating Jersey’s national day
- Celebration – to celebrate not only the freedom of Liberation Day, but the subsequent changes to Jersey that made our Island what it is today
- Commemoration – to reflect on those who suffered hardship or loss as a result of the Occupation during the Second World War
- Commitment – to ensure Jersey carries on the memory of those impacted
- Creativity – to bring the celebration alive, enabling all Islanders to take part in events in some shape or form
Channel Islands Occupation Society
Government of Jersey
Jersey Arts Centre
Jersey College for Girls
Jersey Development Company
Jersey Electricity Company
Jersey Evening Post
Jersey Race Club
Jersey Rugby Football Club
Lloyds Bank International
Music in Action
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
Parish of Grouville
Parish of St Brelade
Parish of St. Clements
Parish of St. Helier
Parish of St. John
Parish of St. Lawrence
Parish of St. Martin
Parish of St. Mary
Parish of St. Ouen
Parish of St. Peter
Parish of St. Saviour
Parish of Trinity
Royal Jersey Agricultural & Horticultural Society
Working group members:
Senator Sarah Ferguson
Deputy Jeremy Maçon
Constable Deidre Mezbourian
Senator Steve Pallett
Deputy Kevin Pamplin
Deputy Montfort Tadier