2 March 2021

Cold, Implacable Surveillance

John Lewis, A Doctor's Occupation (Jersey: Starlight, 1997):

Later, when wireless sets were forbidden, they [German soldiers] would go up to any pair of civilians whom they saw in close conversation on the street, separate them out of ear-shot of each other, and demand to know what they were talking about. If the details of the conversation did not tally, both civilians would be taken away for interrogation. Very soon we learned not to talk to each other in the street, and only passed the time of day, though we might be the best of friends. After curfew, when no one was abroad, the Gestapo even stood with their ears glued to the window of an occupied room, either to catch details of conversation or even, if they were lucky, the tones of an illicit radio. This cold, implacable surveillance induced a feeling of dread in many people who had any sort of guilty secret, and many radios were either destroyed or handed in.


A homemade crystal radio used during the occupation
From Jersey Heritage, # JERSM/1984/00166