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Channel Islands' liberation marked


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Queen Elizabeth II
Channel Islands
World War II

(CNN) -- Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has visited the Channel Islands to mark the 60th anniversary of their liberation from Nazi rule at the end of World War II.

The British monarch -- accompanied by Prince Philip -- on Monday met with war veterans in Guernsey and Jersey, including islanders who lived through the German occupation.

They also attended a Liberation Day service and unveiled a commemorative stone before traveling to Jersey.

"None of us, young or old, should allow ourselves to forget the sacrifices and the suffering of those long years," the queen said during celebtations in Jersey

"But I think all of us can be heartened by the efforts which have been made in recent times to promote reconciliation, tolerance and forgiveness."

The Channel Islands, off the coast of France, were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by the Nazis.

The wartime UK prime minister, Winston Churchill, considered the islands to be indefensible. British troops were withdrawn and the Germans invaded in June and July 1940.

For five years, the islands suffered military occupation. German currency was circulated, curfews imposed, radios - even carrier pigeons - confiscated and forbidden, and the population issued with identity cars. Food was in short supply.

The small Jewish population and another 2,000 English-born islanders were deported to Nazi concentration camps where some died.

The Germans began fortifying the islands -- using forced labor -- against a possible British attack.

However, the attack never came and the islands were bypassed on D-Day and left in German hands until the defeat of Adolf Hitler's forces in Europe when liberators arrived and the occupation troops surrendered.


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