UNE Student digs up WWII past

Published 26 April 2016

Date: 27 April 2016

 

Isobel Lloyd, a third year archaeology student in the University of New England School of Humanities, recently returned from an archaeological trip of a life time.

Carrying the stories of her family’s history in Nazi Germany, Isobel spent nine days with a team of European archaeologists exploring the history of a WWII German Forced Labour camp on Jersey Island called Lager Wick, supported by UNE’s Mary Dolan Memorial Travelling Scholarship.

Isobel digging in what they first thought was a latrine

Isobel digging in what they first thought was a latrine

“The excavation on Jersey provided insight into what my great grandparents would have suffered under the Nazi regime. My great grandfather was detained and forced to work in terrible conditions and for long hours, and lived in what would have been cramped and cold huts.

“What we found at Lager Wick suggests the interns had slightly better conditions than those in the mainland camps – they had food, were at least warm (we found coal briquettes) and were paid something,” Ms Lloyd explained.

Much of Lager Wick was destroyed at the end of the War, evidenced by the layers of ash that surround the site. However Ms Lloyd explained that the researchers still made some remarkable discoveries.

A lead eagle worn by Nazi officials found at the site

A lead eagle worn by Nazi officials found at the site

“What we suspect is a lead eagle, similar to that which we found in 2014, was discovered, which most likely confirms that the forced labour camp was connected to the Nazi regime. A badly burnt iron padlock also symbolises the prison conditions of the camps,” Isobel said.

A badly rusted padlock found at the site, suggesting the place was an internment camp

A badly rusted padlock found at the site, suggesting the place was an internment camp

According to Isobel, the short trip was very worthwhile, getting to spend time with experienced archaeologists and working on a project the world knows little about.

“The three researchers on the team were incredibly helpful in guiding me in the right direction, not just in the excavation but also in considering a future in archaeology.”

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For more information or interview, contact UNE Media on 6773 2551 or Isobel on 0422182926 or illoyd3@myune.edu.au