Gilly Carr

Dr Gilly Carr is a Senior Lecturer and Academic Director in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education; she is also a Fellow and Director of Studies in Archaeology at St Catharine’s College. Recent publications include Victims of Nazism in the Channel Islands: A legitimate heritage? (Bloomsbury Academic 2019), Protest, Defiance and Resistance in the Channel Islands: German Occupation 1940-45 (co-authored, Bloomsbury Academic 2015), and Legacies of Occupation: Heritage, Memory and Archaeology in the Channel Islands (Springer 2014). She has been a member of the UK delegation of IHRA since 2016.

 

'Combatting collective amnesia: digital heritage and the Channel Islands'

Abstract of presentation for Holocaust Studies in the Digital Age. What’s New? on 2 July 2019

Sophisticated and high-budget advances in Holocaust research in a digital age undoubtedly open up the field in all sorts of new and exciting ways, yet there is still an important role for what we might perceive to be simpler, lower budget or even ‘traditional’ digital projects. Many of these contain stalwart, established features, such as mapping, victim biographies, social media, and the display of original documents, but it would be a mistake to assume that such workhorse models are not making the same impact today as their more complex cousins.

This paper showcases the newly completed Frank Falla Archive (www.frankfallaarchive.org), which carries victim and survivor testimonies of Nazi persecution and the Holocaust for Channel Islanders deported to Nazi prisons, labour and concentration camps. This website, with its associated social media pages, has constructed for first time the full wartime stories of every deported person from the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by German forces during WWII. The absence of these narratives in any real sense in the Channel Islands has led, over the decades, to amnesia and denial among the general population. As survivors did not pass on the full details of their stories to their families, and very few memoirs were ever written, the stories have, for the most part, dropped out of collective memory and heritage. Yet the Frank Falla Archive and its discoveries has led to a sharp reversal and a rehabilitation of victims and survivors in local memory.

This work has not been without its detractors, who would rather cling to older narratives which focus on liberation day and German bunker architecture. However, the impact of the website, and its very popular social media posts which reach thousands of islanders weekly, has resulted in nothing less than a return of a lost history, lost graves and forgotten victims to their families and their rightful owners.

Gilly Carr 
University of Cambridge
gcc20@cam.ac.uk