I’m ashamed to say that I knew nothing of the suffering of the Jersey people during WWII. I guess the Channel Islands are too far away for it to bear any impact on the average spotty 14 year old sitting in a History class of a mainland British school.
My trip to the tunnels was educating and alarming. It’s a very thought provoking place. How can you say you enjoyed your visit in the knowledge of all the suffering that went on there? The atmosphere is heavy, cold and eerie. But, at the same time I found it inspiring. I carried Louisa May Gould’s ID card with me, at that stage, unaware of her fate.
The strength of us Brits in times of trouble is somewhat famous, and many would argue quite unique throughout history. So I emerged into the warm daylight from the dark caverns filled with a sense of hope and admiration.
Louisa was a widow when the war started, with 2 sons.
One of her sons was killed in action, so when she discovered that one of the Russian prisoners had escaped the Nazi’s who were using their prisoners as slave workers, she said “I have to do something for another woman’s son.” She ended up hiding Feodor “Bill” Buryiv for nearly a year in 1943/44.
Betrayed by a neighbour, she was arrested in May 1944 and sentenced to 2 years imprisonment. Sent to France and by August of that year she was in a concentration camp near Berlin, Ravensbruck.
Unfortunately, when the Germans received word that the allies were closing in, they fled the camp, but not before killing everyone in it by constructing make shift gas chambers. Louisa died on the 13th February 1945.
I guess what drew me to this story is that I am a mother of 2 sons myself. Would I have done the same thing? I really don’t know. Louisa knew the consequences, what would happen to her if she got caught. But I guess, that desire to help a young man, when she couldn’t help her own son, was overpowering.
So that’s the basic story, and I’ve been toying with ideas, and the question, how to tell Louisa’s story. I could do it from the POV of “Bill”? Or what about her other son, the one that didn’t get killed in action, how did he feel about it all? Or how about the neighbour, the one that betrayed her. Why did that person do that? Who were they? Or just stick with Louisa’s? And then there’s the choice of 1st person or 3rd person lol.
I think that one of the overriding things that makes me beleive I’m a writer is the fact that I question everything and often describe myself *goes into London mode* as wanting to know “the ins and outs of a ducks arse” lol. Horrible saying I know, but one I grew up with as a child….haven’t got a clue who came up with that one! Anyway, I need to think, I need to make a decision…hey, I need to research lol
Which POV would interest you the most?