Print this Page

bread during the Occupation

Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you ... my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  They said to him, “Sir, gives us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall never hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”      John 6: 32-35


In May 1944 a Jersey couple took consolation in each other and a child was conceived. The sex was unknown but the surname would be Poch, a Castilian surname meaning “short”, despite the dad’s obvious height.


Bread was to be in short supply for this growing embryo and many others because on 6 June 1944 the D-Day invasion began. Food supplies came through German-occupied Northern France; the allies had landed there.


On 19 September 1944 the German Foreign Ministry asked that Britain be informed that “supplies for the civilian population are exhausted.” Germany was willing to allow food to be sent in – or to allow the evacuation from the Channel Islands of all civilians save those who could be soldiers.


The British reply, formulated at a War Cabinet meeting, was that, so long as German troops remained in occupation they were responsible for feeding the people. Its major concern was that food supplies from Britain to the Channel Islands would actually go to feed German troops.


See above. “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall never hunger...” Whoever: German; British; Jersey. Never hunger.


Reading the reply the German Foreign Ministry researched the facts and obtained a legal opinion. There were 12,000 German troops in Jersey and 39,000 civilians (28,500 and 62,000 in all the islands respectively). There was no legal obligation of the German Forces to provide food for civilians.  Not even for the Poch embryo en ventre sa mere. Not for any pregnant mums.


The German Foreign Ministry and the Fuhrer Headquarters couldn’t agree on a response. Back in London on 2 November 1944 a Member of Parliament asked the Home Secretary to consider evacuating all civilians because “the last people to starve in the Islands will be the Germans.”


Yes, human power determines who is fed – who will live. Winston Churchill, Prime Minister, as recorded in War Cabinet minutes, remained adamant: no food for Germans.


But see above.  “I am the bread of life; .... whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” Whoever: Germans; British; Jersey. Never thirst.


But Churchill changed his mind. On 7 November 1944 it was agreed that International Red Cross food parcels could come into the Channel Islands – subject to conditions.


The Poch embryo knew nothing of this – safely warm.


By January 1945 the condition of the German troops was of grave concern. Their rations were only just enough to support life if the body was at rest.


The food parcels brought in by the Vega and distributed in the first few days of January 1945, saved many civilian lives. But bread itself ran out in Jersey in February 1945.


And on 2 February 1945 the little Poch girl was born. Life. Hungry life.


Many Jersey folk were robbed of their food parcels – and at least one couple was murdered by German soldiers for theirs. “I must never hunger. I must never thirst. Others die so I may live.”


See above. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life ..... the bread of God that gives life to the world.”  Ah, yes. This Jesus died so I may live – so that whoever may live....


And the Poch girl? Alive in Jersey. And also one of the whoever who came to Jesus for the true bread from heaven, for life. Alive in Jesus. Maybe you know her?

 ‘We are not so to live as if we had nothing but a body.’  (J C Ryle, Writer and Preacher, 1816-1900)
"Let us live as people who are prepared to die, and die as people who are prepared to live." (James S Stewart, Preacher and Writer, 1896-1990)
Richard Syvret (with acknowledgement to Charles Cruickshank (“The German Occupation of Jersey”), Rosemary Head and Frank Ellison

Email this newsletter to a friend
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Friend`s name
Friend`s email address *
Your name
Your email address *

Send comment
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Your name *
Your email address *
Your comment *