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Food Sortages during the German Occupation of Guernsey

by Guernseymuseum

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Myrtle Tabel
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01 September 2005

[Myrtle Tabel was four years old at the start of the occupation]

One of my many memories is of being hungry which is why I can't bear to see food wasted today. We used to have one slice of bread on our plates and that was it. That is when there was bread to be had, how we managed without bread for three weeks I will never know. We had very little to eat and a carrot to chew was a treat as sweets would be today.

The arrival of the Red Cross parcels were red letter days and moments of great rejoicing. I well remember the thick slab of chocolate contained in each parcel and as we had never had chocolate, the joy with which it was eaten. My father risked imprisonment many times by paying for black market bread and bringing it home under a pile of rabbit food to feed his starving family. Many times I helped to take the family soup (mainly water and vegetables) to the Soup Kitchens to be heated as there was no form of heating available in the house. A great treat was a jelly made with seaweed.

Christmas was always a time of happiness I don't quite know how my parents managed it but Father Christmas always seemed to come. The fact that we went through all our toys and gave them to my mother just before Christmas seemed to pass us by. She obviously swapped them with toys from another family of similar ages. Some how a special treat was always provided such as a jelly or a precious tin of fruit which my parents bought on the black market.

Myrtle Tabel

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