Celebrating 72 Years of the liberation of Internees

St. Helier and Bad Wurzach

The Parish of St Helier, in the Channel Island of Jersey, was twinned with the German spa town, Bad Wurzach, in Baden-Württemberg, in the summer of 2002.

This simple but highly emotional act of reconciliation between the people of Jersey and the German townsfolk, was the culmination of 30 years of dedication and persistence by ex-internees and the people of a foreign town that was their prison during the Second World War.

The two communities that now share close ties were brought together through adversity of war in 1942, when Hitler ordered the deportation to internment camps in Europe of British-born Channel Islanders and their families.

Of the 2,011 deportees – men, women, children and babes in arms 653 Islanders were detained in Bad Wurzach’s 18th century castle until they were liberated in April 1945. In the ensuing years, friendships forged across barbed wire endured and in 2002, after a number of failed attempts, the twinning document was signed, first in St Helier in July,and two months later in Bad Wurzach, in the very castle where the internees were imprisoned.

The reconciliation between former enemies is not just confined to cultural, working and sporting exchanges between the town and the parish. There have been other partnerships involving the Jersey Arts Centre, the Youtheatre, The National Trust for Jersey and Jersey Heritage. A travel bursary has been established and students from Jersey and Bad Wurzach have worked in each others communities.

Bad Wurzach has also become an established participant in the Battle of Flowers with five bands having taken part since 2003.Bad Wurzach is the only mud spa town in the region of Baden-Württemberg, the largest of Germany’s 16 federal states. Founded in 1333, it is situated 40 miles from Lake Constance and the border with Switzerland. 1950 the state government conferred the title Bad, making the town an official spa treatment destination. The spa facilities offer modern comfort of the highest standard and the sub-alpine climate – the altitude is from 2,100 to 2,600 feet – also aids recuperation.

Bad Wurzach lies on the edge of the Wurzach marshes nature conservation area; the largest continuous and still intact highland marsh in central Europe, formed more than 10,000 years ago by the evaporation of an Ice Age glacial lake.

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St. Helier Parish Bad Wurzach