New books 2009

Biberach, Guernsey Business Law, Witchcraft, Guernsey Merchants

We are grateful to the Chief Librarian for two books she brought back from her recent visit to Biberach an der Riss, the site of an internment camp for Channel Island residents, amongst others, in the Second War. Guernsey now has close links with the town and its people, of which young musicians' reciprocal visits have played a large part in recent years.

Adler, Reinhold, Das war nicht nur 'Karneval im August:' Das Internierungslager Biberach an der Riß 1942-1945 (That wasn't just an 'August Carnival:' Biberach Internment Camp 1942-45): Biberach an der Riß: Städtische Archiven Biberach an der Riß in Zusammenarbeit mit der Gesellschaft für Heimatpflege (Kunst- und Altertums-Verein) Biberach, 2002

This publication from the State Archive of Biberach an der Riss is the work of a teacher at Dollinger School in Biberach and some of his pupils. During the Second War over two thousand Channel Islanders were interned at a former barracks in the town of Biberach an der Riss, known as Camp Lindele. This book is provides an overview of the history of this interment camp. The internees celebrated a 'carnival' in August (carnivals in Germany are associated with Lent, so this was unusual for the locals), which gives the book its title. The preface explains that towards the end of the war, the camp also acted as a stopping-off point for Jewish prisoners from the Bergen-Belsen camp who were being exchanged with Switzerland.

Chapters include: Early history (incl. British POWs in the Officers' camp); Nazi plans for the Channel Islands; From the Channel Islands to Germany; From Officers' camp to internment camp; Ilag VB—a high local and military authority facility; A small town behind barbed wire, incl. Death—the Ogier case, and Carnival in August, and Jewish internees from the Channel Islands; the Lidele camp in the 1944/45 Allied exchange programme; the Lindele camp at the end of the War and in the postwar period.

Bellows, Tony, Channel Islands Witchcraft: A Critical Survey: privately printed, 2008

The author has collected the evidence for witchcraft in the Channel Islands and evaluated its history and meaning; he has examined and reviewed the published literature and drawn in the main evidence-based conclusions. He draws attention to the sensationalist nature of some of the existing literature and explains how the influence of Calvinism in Guernsey contributed to the more brutal aspects of prosecutions there. In addition, he demonstrates a long islands tradition of 'cunning' folk, practitioners of 'natural magic,' who along with criminals and Protestant martyrs made up most of the victims of persecution. He includes a section on grimoires, the most famous of which, Le Grand and Petit Albert, the Library has copies of. (The books he includes in his critical overview are available in the Library.) All in all, this is an interesting and comprehensive synopsis of the history of 'witchcraft' in the islands and its literature, and would serve as an excellent introduction to the subject.

Guernsey Business Law Handbook; Washington, D.C.: International Business Publications, 2007, 2nd ed.

With contributions by Advocate Mark Dunster ('A Lawyer's Guide to doing business in Guernsey') amongst others.

A comprehensive overview of legislation and regulation in Guernsey, with particular reference to financial services, and analysis of business opportunities. The book includes the text of various relevant documents and statutes, including the Future Economic & Taxation Strategy second consultation document of 2005.

Chapman, David M., Chapel and Swastika: Methodism in the Channel Islands during the German Occupation 1940-1945, Jersey, ELSP, 2009

The author has written a fascinating book about a very specific aspect of Occupation history and one which, despite the influence in the islands of the Church, and especially of Methodism, has, as he points out, remained up to now under-researched. A substantial work of 250 pages, with an excellent Appendix and Bibliography, the book contains the following chapters:

The Rise of Methodism; Islands at War; Worship and Preaching; Church Life; Living with the Enemy; Daily Life; 'Follow the Money;' Watching over one another in love; Children and Young people; Evacuation and Deportation; Liberation; Aftermath.

The author tackles the controversial issue of the Church's apparent acceptance of German policy during the Occupation:

Criticising the churches for their silence on public issues during the Occupation without taking account of the circumstances in the islands is both unfair and misleading. In fact... when unrealistic expectations of martyrdom are set aside there is evidence to suggest that the churches provided a ready outlet for passive resistance to the enemy.

He discusses the traumatic deportation of the majority of the island's clergymen to Germany and includes a good deal of information about the Reverend Douglas Ord, whose Occupation Diary, held here at the Priaulx Library, is one of the most important sources of contemporary information about Guernsey during that period. The author remarks upon the extensive archives available for the Methodist Church here in Guernsey—the Methodists had an 'obsession for recording every aspect of church life,' which can prove very useful.

For more information please contact the Deputy Chief Librarian.

Stevens Cox, Gregory: The Guernsey Merchants and their world, Guernsey, Toucan Press, 2009

This book concentrates on the activities of Guernsey-based merchant traders in the Georgian period. As ever with this author, research is painstaking and meticulous, sources are extensive and precisely listed, and points are illustrated with clear tables and graphs. There are some splendid colour plates.

The author has trawled many original sources which he quotes at length and in doing so provides a great deal of fascinating supplementary information. He provides biographies of the main merchants and their families and examines in particular the trading history of Capt. William Le Lacheur and the Pomona.

The book is full of detail and is well worth careful perusal for those who are interested in both the commercial and social history of eighteenth-century Guernsey.