Debt of gratitude to Liberation generation ‘can never be repaid’

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CHIEF Minister Kristina Moore yesterday paid tribute to Occupation hero Bob Le Sueur – who died last November aged 102 – and his ‘Liberation generation’ contemporaries who fought for the Island’s freedom .

During a special States sitting Deputy Moore, taking part in her first Liberation Day as Chief Minister, said that those Islanders who showed such resilience during the Occupation were owed a ‘debt of gratitude that can never be repaid’.

Mr Le Sueur, who was made an MBE for services to the community in 2013, risked arrest and death during the German Occupation by helping and hiding Russian slave workers who were smuggled around safe houses in the Island.

Paying tribute to Mr Le Sueur, Deputy Moore said: ‘Bob was a great storyteller who did so much to ensure that the experience of occupation cannot be forgotten. One of the greatest privileges of being a journalist and then being a Member of this Assembly is the opportunity to meet so many wonderful Islanders.

Bob Le Sueur Picture: TRACY MOURANT (35781440)

‘I know that Liberation Day meant so much to Bob. It stirred memories and emotions for him – as it has done through the years for many thousands of men and women. Bob Le Sueur has his own unique place in our Island’s story and he will never be forgotten. Bob was a campaigner for peace and freedom right until his last day.’

The Chief Minister spoke of the struggles that those who experienced the Occupation went through to secure the Island’s freedom and rebuild after 9 May 1945.

‘Nobody knows the importance of that more so than our Liberation generation,’ Deputy Moore said. ‘Islanders who saw through five years of occupation in Jersey, Islanders who were evacuated or deported and Islanders who fought for their King and their Bailiwick – they all stood for freedom and all contributed to rebuilding our island after 1945.

‘To everyone who is part of that unique and special generation and who are either here in the public gallery, listening on the radio, watching at home or braving the elements in Liberation Square, we pay tribute to you and wish you all a very happy Liberation Day. And to those who are no longer with us, we remember them today. We remember their stories and we remember their sacrifice.

‘We commemorate and celebrate today alongside our friends, allies and fellow liberal democracies from across Europe and the world.’

The brief 20-minute sitting, which was attended by chair of the Channel Island All Party Parliamentary Group Sheryll Murray MP, Mayor of Trenton, New Jersey, Reed Gusciora, Mayoress Scherer of Bad Wurzach and German Ambassador to the UK His Excellency Miguel Berger, also referenced the ongoing war in Ukraine – a reminder that liberation is as important today as it was in 1945.

Deputy Moore added: ‘Liberation Day elicits so many memories, emotions and personal stories both for Islanders who went through those five painful years and of course for their descendents.

‘Many of us today will, like me, be thinking of our parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and loved ones from whom they had heard Occupation experiences first-hand.

‘It is so important that we take time to remember this period in our history and not allow the painful experience of our Occupation to be forgotten. That is why when we reflect on similar events occurring in other parts of the world, we do relate to those nations. For example, we stand with Ukraine and we can all be proud that Islanders have contributed the most per capita to supporting its people.

‘We mustn’t forget that the Nazi Occupation took place within living memory ending 78 years ago today and there are people in the world today who are still experiencing similar deprivation.

‘Occupation is, we know, not unthinkable and unfortunately not unrelatable.

‘Indeed, today we are reminded that our freedom, liberty and democracy which we so cherish and for which are forebears fought so hard is precious and not to be taken for granted.’

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