The Nazi troops left because of a lack of food supply, having been abandonned there with their "empire" crumbling down. One of my friends recently celebrated Guernsey liberation day.
Yes, I've read that in Guernsey, there was something like a 1:2 ratio of German soldiers to locals. There were so many Germans that, during the occupation, they switched traffic to the right side of the road and moved the islands from Greenwich Mean to Central European time. Apparently the resources were exhausted pretty badly. One weird thing I read, but couldn't find a picture of (though the idea itself is fascinating) is that the artist hired by the Germans to design the new postage stamps and some of the currency (not the pictured bill) for the occupation government filled them with hidden pro-British messages that would only be visible, like one of those Mad magazine inserts, when the bills and stamps were folded over.
Actually, German troops were never evacuated from the Channel Islands, though many departed from there to the Eastern Front earlier in the war. By the end of the war they were eating seagulls and cats. The Red Cross ship Vega provided some relief to the civilian population. The Germans did not surrender the Islands until May 8, except for the garrison at Alderney, which was finally surrendered on May 16, 1945.
You are right, Libby. And didn't they build "work camps" at Alderney? I remember something along those lines as well. A pretty striking photograph I once saw, which I wish I could find now: German soldiers on Guernsey or Jersey, standing in front of a very British-looking shop which had additional signage in German added to it.
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