What was life in Guernsey really like under Nazi rule?

Who was Ruth Ozanne?

Ruth Ozanne was born in 1888 and died in 1970. For most of her life she lived in St. Peter Port in Guernsey. She was a lifelong diary writer. Her first diary was written at the age of thirteen and her final diary was completed at the end of the Second World War. In between she wrote sixteen volumes, including five volumes recounting her experiences as a Voluntary Aid Detatchment nurse behind the lines in France during the First World War.

Ruth's diaries give us a remarkable eyewitness account of daily life during the German Occupation of Guernsey from 1940 to 1945. At the beginning of the occupation, there is an atmosphere of good humoured defiance on the Island. The relatively few German soldiers are on their best behaviour and the Islanders are bolstered by a stream of optimistic rumours.

Ruth Ozanne in 1939....................and in 1941

However, life gradually darkens as vastly more arms and troops arrive, supported by Organistation Todt labourers, to make the Island part of Hitler's Atlantic Wall. Luxuries disappear and severe food shortages make the struggle to survive considerably tougher. By the end, both Islanders and the occupying army are starving.

Through it all, Ruth meticulously records the rumours, the rations, the scandals,the  trials and the tribulations of life under the Nazis as she battles to care for her home, her vegetable garden, her elderly relatives and Garry - her Highland Terrier.

Her diaries are a testament to the resilience, resourcefulness and humanity of Guernsey people during the Second World War.