The Second World War Diaries of Violet Carey: Guernsey Under Occupation

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The Second World War Diaries of Violet Carey: Guernsey Under Occupation

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Length: 551 pages8 hours


The diaries kept by Violet Carey during the occupation of Guernsey show precisely how the German invasion affected the lifestyle of an upper middle class woman. Whilst never indulging in self-pity, she captures the misery caused by imprisonment and the lethargy and depression that many, including herself, suffered, a feeling intensified by fear of the unknown and the sense of isolation from England and from relatives and the rest of the war. In her remarkably down to earth style, the diarist provides an honest account of events and does not attempt to disguise incidents of scandal or misconduct on the part of her countrymen, or of humanity on the part of the Germans. More lighthearted entries illustrate the delight that she and many of her friends took in defying the invader simply by sticking to firmly held principles. The diaries depict both the hardships imposed upon the native population by the occupying forces and the ways in which Guernsey people reacted towards the enemy. What comes through most vividly is a valiant acceptance on the part of the islanders of their circumstances, together with optimism that all would turn out well. Hope is never entirely lost, even after life becomes simply a matter of survival. The diaries also indicate the pressures experienced by the island's leaders as the writer is related to Bailiff Victor Carey and husband is Jurat of the Royal Court. Following the island's liberation it was claimed that tales of their heroic endurance and indefatigable humour were covering up a deeper scandal. An introductory section examines the language and content of the diaries and shows how, as the occupation lengthened and shortages became more acute, the veneer of civilisation could be stripped away and the privileges afforded by wealth, education and class rendered irrelevant.
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