Occupation table game found in a Jersey attic makes fun at Nazis

A long-lost Board game that gives a glimpse of life inThe game, loosely based on Monopoly, is called Occupation and makes gentle but pointed jibes at the Nazis, who were on Jersey from 1940 to 1945.

It is believed to have been produced, possibly secretly, to help families cope with living under occupation.

The front of the game – on paper rather than board – invites competitors to “laugh your troubles away by playing Occupation”. It adds: “Tell your friends about it and cheer them up as well.”

Players had to roll a dice to progress around the board, moving forward or backwards depending on where they land.

Some squares are good – “receive two eggs, go forward three” or “receive 50 cigarettes, go forward eight”. Others are not so good. If you landed on “identity card lost” you had to go back four and if you exceeded your electricity ration, it was back five.

Others were even worse. “Ration book lost” meant having to go to “food control”, and “blackout offence” meant you had to go to Gloucester Road, where the prison was located, and from where players had to throw specific numbers to re-enter the game.

The game was discovered by an islander called Simon Griffiths in a suitcase in the loft of his new house. His father, Colin Griffiths, 72, a retired RAF pilot, said they believed it had been played during the occupation. “I have never seen anything like this in my life, it is so interesting. The forfeits are just fantastic,” he said.

Val Nelson, the senior registrar of Jersey Heritage, said it appeared to have been drawn up by Ashelford Printers, which is known to have printed programmes for amateur plays during the occupation. It was marked as being sold in the Red Triangle store, which was in a market in Jersey.

“We really like it,” she said. “We haven’t got anything like this in our archives. We think it must have been produced on a very small scale. It’s a little subversive, an interesting example of how people use dark humour as a coping mechanism and to keep spirits up.”

The Griffiths family haven’t yet sat down for a game and will probably donate it to a museum on the island. Jersey under Nazi occupation was found in a loft in the English channel.

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