He is the first non-German to be presented with Bad Wurzach’s Citizens Medal and was praised as a ‘beacon of peace and a symbol of freedom’. Mr Ginns and his wife, Josephine, were the guests of honour at a ceremony hosted by the mayor, Roland Buerkle, in Germany on Friday. Just over 60 years before, in September 1942, Mr Ginns, at the age of 15, had been transported to the town and was interned in its castle. In the years of peace that followed his release in August 1945, Mr Ginns has been instrumental in building bridges between Jersey and Bad Wurzach. In his address before 350 guests, Mr Buerkle said: ‘Today is a day of historic importance for the town of Bad Wurzach. For the first time, it is not a native German who is to be the recipient of the town’s Citizens Medal. The town’s council was unanimous in its decision. Reconciliation ‘ It is you, Michael, who deserves this distinction in recognition for promoting reconciliation between former internees from Jersey and the people of Bad Wurzach.’ Referring to Mr Ginns being torn away from friends and family in 1942, the mayor added: ‘You have always told of the readiness of the inhabitants to help during those years even though the initial contact between us could not have been worse. You, dear Michael, have the strength and the courage to forgive, to extend a hand and, above all, to do this publicly. You are an example to us all when it comes to peacemaking. And you did so, despite all the wrongs that you went through.’ Mr Buerkle spoke of Mr Ginns’ work helping to found the Channel Island Occupation Society in 1971 through which he still ‘worked tirelessly towards reconciliation with the former enemies’. He added: ‘Today, you and your dear wife, Josephine, proudly call Bad Wurzach your second home. The award of the Citizens Medal, dear Michael, is a token of thanks for all what you have done towards reconciliation between the German and Jersey people. You are a beacon of peace and a symbol of freedom.’ Mr Ginns said: ‘It was a great honour. I understand the town council turned a number of people down for the medal, but when my name was mentioned they were unanimous.’ He added that a huge amount had been achieved in bringing the two communities together and said he hoped the spirit of the twinning agreement would live on through exchange visits.
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