Jersey / Themed route

Forced Workers Trail in Jersey


The Forced Workers Trail will introduce you to places around the Island that are associated with the foreign labourers brought to Jersey to build German fortifications under the Organisation Todt.

The Channel Islands was the only region of the British Isles to be occupied by German Forces during the Second World War. The Occupation of Jersey began on 1 July 1940, and the Liberation took place on 9 May 1945. During a two year period from the autumn of 1941, approximately 6,000 foreign workers - men and women - were brought to the Island against their will by the Organisation Todt (OT), and made to take part in the construction of concrete fortifications. 

The workers were brought to Jersey from numerous countries including Spain, France, Belgium, Holland, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Algeria, Morocco and citizens of the former USSR, especially Russians, Ukrainians and Belarus. They essentially fell into two categories: labourers from Western Europe and North Africa were conscripted or forced workers, but they were paid and free to move around the Island outside of working hours, subject to the curfew. Soviet citizens, with their Slavic ethnicity, were regarded as slave labour – they received no payment, had no freedom from captivity, were given the most nominal rations and very often treated with brutality.

This trail will focus principally upon the experience of the forced and slave labourers, but also include sites that were part of the Organisation Todt (OT) infrastructure.

Sites and stories along the route