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Archive of Karl Adalbert Greier
1940 - 2012
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Karl Adalbert Greier was born in Mürzzuschlag, Styria, Austria on 28 December 1906. He spent most of his childhood in St Viet an der Glad, before moving to Vienna to complete an apprenticeship as a hairdresser. He moved to Switzerland in 1929 where he met another hairdresser who had recently returned from Jersey; in 1930 Karl moved to Jersey and started employment at Vann's hairdressing salon on the corner of Bath Street and Queen Street and shortly after met Ellen Lucy "Helen" Peace. The couple married on 30 November 1930, and had four children - two sons and two daughters - together. Unable to apply to become a British national until he had been a resident for ten years, in 1938 Karl accepted German nationality to avoid being left stateless. When the Occupation began in July 1940, he was taken on as an interpreter to an adjutant of the Field Commandant, working in this role for three years. After the Battle of Stalingrad in 1943, Karl received call-up papers from the German High Command and ordered to report to Paris where he was assigned to be a signaller for Infantry Regiment 246 in Luxembourg. From there he was sent to Lvov where he fought as an infantryman. On 21 July 1944, Karl was captured by Russian soldiers and taken as a prisoner of war until 1947. Karl's family in Jersey were to not receive any news of him until 1947. Karl was eventually released in 1947 and returned to Austria where he was reunited with his parents in St Viet an der Glad. From here, Karl and Helen began the process to acquire the necessary documentation and complete the required forms to facilitate Karl's repatriation to Jersey. After he acquired a work permit from the Alien's Office to work as a hairdresser at Leo's salon in St Helier, he commenced on his journey home to Jersey in January 1948 via Paris and St Malo, finally arriving in Jersey aboard SS Brittany on 17 January 1948. In 1961, Karl received his certificate of naturalisation and officially became a British citizen. Helen died in 1955, and in 1958 Karl married his second wife Patricia Cogle. Karl died at the General Hospital on 30 May 1985. The collection includes: papers relating to Karl's experiences as an interpreter in Jersey during the Occupation, including notices, contracts, certificates, identification cards, licences, registration forms and orders; papers relating to Karl's release as a prisoner of war, his repatriation to Jersey following the end of Second World War, including certificates, forms, correspondence from agencies including the Aliens Office and naturalisation; correspondence to Karl from his family including a letter in 1958 from his parents, and letters from his brother Josef concerning the deaths of their mother and father in 1960 and 1976 respectively; and histories about Karl including an article by Margaret J Ginns published in the Channel Islands Occupation Society Review in 1981, and a biography of Karl by his daughter Johanna.
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