Deported at 17
for stealing a rabbit
Alfred Hacquoil's internment camp identity card
Alfred George Hacquoil was deported from Jersey on 25 February 1943, during the second wave of mass deportations.
Alfred was a 17-year-old youth when in February 1943 he was arrested by the German occupying forces in Jersey for stealing from the Germans, either a rabbit (or possibly a chicken). It is said he was also one of a group of young men who were causing trouble and, being unemployed at the time, he was put on the deportation list.
His deportation caused problems within his family. He testified later that his parents were dead and he was the breadwinner for his three younger brothers and a sister. His sister consequently tried to commit suicide and his brothers were placed in an orphanage.
Alfred was in a group of 20 Islanders who were first sent to Ilag VIII Kreuzberg in Germany, a civilian internment camp with a harsh regime. He said that if it had not been for Red Cross parcels, they would have starved.
By early 1945, the Russians were closing in on the area of the camp and it was evacuated. The internees were loaded into cattle wagons for a journey into Austria which took 12 days.
At the internment camp they arrived at, in Spittal, the men found food, thanks to an air drop by the RAF, and they were eventually liberated by a British tank division. It was while he was then in a displaced persons camp in Spittal that Alfred embroidered the tapestry of a ship, which epitomised his dearest wish – to sail back to Jersey.
He never did return to live in Jersey. Instead, he settled in the North of England with his wife and family, who treasured his tapestry for over 70 years.
In 2018 his daughter-in-law donated the tapestry to Jersey Heritage saying that since the death of her husband, Alfred’s son, she felt the tapestry should go to Jersey.