‘Britain’s Anne Frank’: The brave family who risked their lives to hide escaped Soviet soldier in Nazi-occupied Jersey – as relatives try discover his fate after he was sent back to Ukraine after WWII
Ukrainian soldier ‘Tom’ Bokejon Akram was sheltered from the Nazis
A family has revealed the extraordinary story of ‘Britain’s Anne Frank’ who hid from the Nazis in their home – and even kept a diary.
Phyliss Emily Le Breton and her husband John kept ‘Tom’ hidden away behind trap doors after he fled his German captors.
トム – real name Bokejon Akram – was a Ukrainian soldier and school teacher taken as a prisoner of war by the Third Reich.
They took him to the occupied Channel Island of Jersey as a slave but he escaped and was taken in by Mr and Mrs Le Breton.
They risked their lives by hiding him their house where he had trap door escape routes.
He told their five young kids fairy stories and even kept a diary – just like the teenage Anne Frank in Amsterdam.
The family called him ‘Tom’ and taught him English – partly by reading the Bible with him.
He survived with them for three years and was repatriated to the Ukraine in 1945 by the British.
They lost touch after the war and the family’s story has now emerged as officials at Jersey Heritage try to discover more about him.
Phyliss and Emily’s grand-daughter Carolyn Horn, 52, said she was immensely proud of what her family risked to save Tom’s life.
Phyliss Emily Le Breton and her husband John kept ‘Tom’ hidden away behind trap doors after he fled his German captors
Ms Horn, who lives in Cyprus with her husband and three children, 前記: ‘He became a member of the family.
‘My aunt said she called him her favourite uncle, as that was how he was known – Uncle Tom.
‘My grandmother used to talk about Tom all the time. It just shows what kind people they were. 誇りに思う.
‘It was a time of crisis and they had German soldiers walking in whenever.
‘They still risked their own lives, and the lives of their children, to help someone who they didn’t even know and let live in their house as a member of their family.
‘There was a little door under the staircase in the house with a trap door behind it – that is how Tom could get from one side of the house to the other.’
Mr and Mrs Le Breton are reported to have said: ‘We trusted this man, he was the sort of man we could trust.
‘The children loved him and, when he could understand some English, he used to read them fairy stories.’
The Le Bretons risked their lives by hiding him their house (写真) where he had trap door escape routes. He told their five young kids fairy stories and even kept a diary – just like the teenage Anne Frank in Amsterdam
Tom survived with them for three years and was repatriated to the Ukraine in 1945 by the British. 上: The interior of the family’s home
Phyliss and Emily’s grand-daughter Carolyn Horn, 52, said she was immensely proud of what her family risked to save Tom’s life. 上: Ms Horn on her grandmother’s lap when she was young
Tom’s journey began in July 1941 when the young Ukrainian soldier and unmarried school teacher defended his country against German attack.
During a two-hour period 12,000 of his colleagues died and Tom, alongside many other Ukrainians, became a PoW.
The German soldiers collected thousands of people and used them as slave labourers to quarry stone and build coastal defences.
Tom then found himself with 2,000 others taken to St Malo in Jersey in July 1942.
He was put into hard labour but ran away and was found in St Mary – by the Le Bretons and their four very young children.
They were nervous and so renamed Bokejon as Tom to reduce the risk of discovery if their kids said anything.
Phyliss and John are reported to have said: ‘We trusted this man, he was the sort of man we could trust. The children loved him and, when he could understand some English, he used to read them fairy stories.’ 上: The Le Breton family
Mr Le Breton was one of 20 Jersey men and women awarded a gold watch by the Soviet government for their courage in helping to shelter Russian and Ukrainian escapees. 上: Mr Le Breton’s Jersey ID card
The wartime ID card of Phyliss Emily Le Breton. In a bid to control the population, the Nazis ordered every person in the occupied Channel Island to be registered under the Registration and Identification of Persons (ジャージー) 注文, 1940.
Tom slept in in the stables behind a trap door, in a car hidden behind bales of straw and in a shed in case the Germans called.
Mrs Le Breton’s daughter Dulcie, now in her 90s, remembers him reading fairy stories to the children and playing with them.
Dulcie, who was four when the Occupation began, remembers Tom like a ‘favourite uncle’.
5月 1945, before repatriation to the Ukraine by British forces, Tom promised to keep in contact.
Three letters arrived in June 1945 from Guernsey where Tom was last known to be – but then nothing.
German soldiers are seen being given a lecture in the grounds of Victoria College, ジャージー, where they were billeted during their occupation of the Channel Islands
German officers outside the Alderney branch of Lloyd’s Bank, which they turned into their headquarters
Years later Mr Le Breton was one of 20 Jersey men and women awarded a gold watch by the Soviet government for their courage in helping to shelter Russian and Ukrainian escapees.
Historians at Jersey Heritage have now issued a plea for anyone to come forward with more information about him.
Chris Addy, sites curator, said they were surprised how much they had been able to find out about them.
彼は言った: ‘It’s always a bit of a guess. You never know what stories are going to come out after 77 年.
‘It’s always fascinating to hear a new piece of information or research, and add it to the stories that we tell each year to remind people about this significant part of the Island’s history.’
NAZI OCCUPATION OF THE CHANNEL ISLANDS
六月に 1940, the Allied forces were defeated in France.
The UK government decided the Channel Islands would be too costly to defend and began evacuating military personal and equipment.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill was reportedly reluctant to simply abandon the oldest possession of the British crown but succumbed to the reasoning of military advisers.
Thousands of residents of the channel island fled to mainland Britain to avoid the incoming Nazis.
On Alderney, the most northerly of the main Chanel Islands, the vast majority of the 1,400 natives left the rock that is just three square miles in size.
Many people evacuated from the larger Guernsey and Jersey but a large portion of the population opted to stay.
The Nazis were unaware the Allied forces had stopped protecting the islands and over the next two weeks began reconnaissance fights over their shores.
合計で, 44 islanders were killed in a sequence of raids on the ports by the Luftwaffe.
The Nazis soon occupied the islands, which became the only part of the British Empire conquered by the German Army.
German authorities changed the time zone from GMT to CET in line with the rest of the Third Reich. German occupation also saw the island change to driving on the right hand side opposed to the left.
Residents were forced to sell their cars and houses; speak German in schools; give up weapons, boats and cameras; and had limited access to beaches.
Hitler believed the occupation of the islands had value as a propaganda tool. 結果として, they became heavily fortified.
Hitler sent one-twelfth of the steel and concrete used in the Atlantic Wall defence network to go to the Channel Islands.
The islands were some of the most densely fortified areas in Europe, with a host of Hohlgangsanlage tunnels, casemates, and coastal artillery positions.
Forced labour camps were built on some of the islands, with so-called volunteer camps springing up on Guernsey and Jersey.
This forced labour led to the creation of bunkers, gun emplacements, air raid shelters, and concrete fortifications.
に 1942, camps on Alderney, called Sylt and Norderney, were built to hold a few hundred forced labourers.
しかしながら, 1年後, 行進に 1, 1943, they were placed under the control of the SS-Untersturmführer Maximillian List, turning them into concentration camps.
He was succeeded by SS-Obersturmführer Georg Braun in March 1944. Both men were long-serving members of the Nazi party. List ordered the ‘security to treat the prisoners harshly’ and Braun was ‘brutal to excess’, according to archive information.
The labourers were forced to build coastal defences as part of Hitler’s ‘Atlantic Wall’ and it is thought 20 per cent of the camp’s population died in the first four months alone.
Sylt concentration camp was closed in 1944 and the SS destroyed much of it to hide their crimes.
During D-Day on 6 June 1944 the British troops bypassed the heavily armoured islands.
It took until May 9 1945 for the Nazis on the islands to surrender, 24 hours after VE day for most of Europe.
Guernsey and Jersey were liberated by British troops and ships on this day. Sark was liberated on 10 五月 1945, and the German troops in Alderney surrendered on 16 五月 1945. Prisoners of war were removed from Alderney by 20 五月 1945.
Alderney was the last German garrison to surrender following the conclusion of the war.