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Twinning visit to Bad Wurzach is cancelled

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A Visit by Islanders to the town in Germany where they were imprisoned as children during the Second World War has been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Picture: TONY PIKE. (27708594)

A party including ex-internees and their children and grandchildren, accompanied by former Bailiffs Sir Philip and Sir William Bailhache, was due to spend four days in Bad Wurzach to commemorate the freeing by French troops of Jersey families on 28 April 1945. It was part of this year’s Liberation 75 events.

With restrictions on public gatherings in place and schools closed in St Helier’s twin town, organiser Lola Garvin of the St Helier Bad Wurzach Partnerschaft [twinning] Committee said that the visit could not go ahead.

She said: ‘In total there were to be just over 30 in the group visiting Bad Wurzach for the 75th anniversary.

‘Sadly, it remains to be seen whether many ex-internees will be strong enough to visit in 2021, since it was anticipated that the 2020 trip would be the last official visit.

‘On a positive note, the twinning committee intends to organise a get-together later this year for all those ex-internees who would have travelled in the group, those who were physically unable to travel and the children and grandchildren of internees who would have been on the trip.’

Performances by the Jersey Arts Centre youtheatre of its latest production, Beast and Beauty, in Bad Wurzach next week has also been called off.

For director Daniel Austin it would have been the 12th time he had led student exchanges to the town.

He said: ‘Of course, it is very important for us not to be travelling to Bad Wurzach at this particular time, but given the extraordinary circumstance in which we find ourselves, there was not a hope of being able to continue with the cultural exchange.’

In 1942, on the order of Adolf Hitler in retaliation for German nationals being interned by the British in the Middle East, 2,011 UK-born Islanders and their families were deported to camps in occupied Europe. More than 600 were incarcerated in an 18th-century castle in the centre of Bad Wurzach.

In an act of reconciliation, the town was twinned with St Helier in 2002.

Paula Thelwell

By Paula Thelwell
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