8th May 1945
Final issue of Deutsche Guernsey-Zeitung was published
The German occupying forces had their own Guernsey newspaper (or, in German, Zeitung). Launched in 1942, the single-sheet update was a late-comer: the forces on neighbouring Jersey had established their own paper, the Deutsche Inselzeitung, two years earlier.
Deutsche Guernsey-Zeitung (DGZ), which translates literally to German Guernsey Newspaper, was published daily until 24 March 1945. After that, it appeared every other day until 8 May, the day before liberation. Copies of the first and final issues are held by the Imperial War Museum in London.
It was produced under the guidance of the Seventh Army Propaganda Unit 649, and finally gave the occupying soldiers a paper of their own. Previously, the slimmed-down Guernsey Evening Press had carried the German updates in its own pages. These were printed alongside its regular, censored, English-language content.
Editing and production
Herbert Ladda had acted as editor until July 1944. He was replaced, until the end of its run, by Schmidt-Walkhoff. DGZ was produced at the Guernsey Evening Press printing plant and, as well as Guernsey, it was distributed to Alderney and Sark. By the time production began, the printing press was starting to show its age. The Germans were forced to procure some spare parts from occupied France. It seems that the need to do this had been less pressing before they wanted to launch their own paper.
Although much of the content focused on news from home and the progress of the war, DGZ also serialised a translation of Victor Hugo’s Guernsey-set novel, Toilers of the Sea.
Victor Hugo would probably not have approved. For one thing, he a peace-loving man. For another, he had turned down a lucrative offer from a newspaper to serialise the book on its initial publication. He believed that, as an artist, he could not allow it to be published in anything more than three large volumes.