In looking through Netflix to find something good to watch while I finished Donovan's sweater, I discovered a BBC mini-series called Island at War (2005). I was curious to what it was about and was surprised to find it had to do with German's occupying British soil. What now? Yes, from 1940-1945 Germans occupied the Channel Islands, and this mini-series deals with the first half of that occupation.
This was a very good, yet very hard to watch, series. You would like to think that something like this didn't happen and if it did, it would have been a passive occupation, since the islands had no military to speak of. But no. The German military considered this a "model occupation" and saw it as amazing propaganda, so it was full on occupation. They even changed the cities and streets on the Chanel Islands to German names.
The show follows three families of different classes and shows how the occupation is changing their lives. SF Chronicle criticized that while we see many bad Germans in this show, but that there are few bad British characters shown. I'm not sure I agree with this statement, as we see looting, black market profiteers, and countrymen turning against others over rumors. It gets quite awful between British characters if you pay attention to the undercurrents.
There are some shocking moments in this series, which in turn made me learn about tiny everyday facts from the homefront. For example, I had no idea that the hatred toward women who "fraternized" with Germans was expressed and acted against during occupation. I was aware of the violence against these women after liberation, but assumed that it was repressed (out of fear) during the war. And this, my friends, is where we get the colorful slang "Jerry bag," which is used quite often in the second half of the season. Ah, British folks are so much better at slang than Americans.
Unfortunately, this show terminated after the first season, so it ends quite abruptly. There are only 6 shows, but I highly suggest watching them. There is some very good television here and there are many actors you will recognized from shows like Life on Mars, Downton Abbey, and Midsomer Murders. So, just watch it already!