The following press release was issued on Nov. 30th 2004.
LA VINGTAINE DE LA VILLE
JERSEY HERITAGE TRUST
Plaque to commemorate Occupation Hero
30 November 2004
A commemoration plaque dedicated to ALBERT GUSTAVE BEDANE is to be unveiled by the Bailiff, Sir Philip Bailhache on 6th December. The plaque is located at the site of the house in the cellar of which Albert Gustave Bedane sheltered numerous escapees during the Occupation.
The establishment of the plaque was at the instigation of Sue Hardy and is a joint venture between La Vingtaine de La Ville and Jersey Heritage Trust.
In addition to many fugitive slave workers and an escaped French prisoner of war, Bedane sheltered Francis Le Sueur, and Mary Richardson a Jewish woman who had been uncovered by the Germans in 1943.
Bedane had been presented with a gold watch by the Russian government along with a number of other Islanders in 1965, however his story had been largely forgotten.
In 1987 Jersey Heritage Trust discovered key documents revealing Bedane's heroism in an auction sale of the wartime papers of the Constable of St Peter. This revealed that Mary Richardson had gone into hiding at Bedane's home in Roseville Street after being uncovered as a Jew by the Feldkommandantur in 1943.
In consequence of this archival discovery, Jersey Heritage Trust in association with the Holocaust Education Trust and the Wiener Library made an application to the State of Israel for recognition of Albert Bedane as 'Righteous Among the Nations'. This is the highest holocaust honour and is the same honour awarded to Oscar Schindler.
In 2000 after the matter had been considered by an Israeli Supreme Court judge, Bedane was duly recognised and his name is now inscribed in the Avenue of the Righteous Gentiles at the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem. The certificate and medal recognising Bedane were donated by his family last year to the JHT and are now on permanent display at the Maritime Museum.
Albert Gustave Bedane hid Mary Erica Richardson for nearly two years from June 1943. Francis Le Sueur, also hidden by Bedane in 1944 testified: 'Mr Bedane not only helped me for two weeks but sheltered a Dutch Jewess for 2½ years and he must have known during all that time that he would be shot if caught'. Bedane never sought to derive any material benefit from his humanitarianism and was well aware of the risks involved in hiding escapees. When asked why he had risked his life he testified, 'I had a few nightmares occasionally but I thought that if I was going to be killed I would rather be killed for a sheep than a lamb anyway'.
Bedane remains the only British subject recognised as Righteous Among the Nations for an act of heroism carried out on British soil, an unique honour for the Island of Jersey.
The Vingtaine de la Ville plaque will be unveiled by the Bailiff, Sir Philip Bailhache, at 1.15 on Monday 6 December. The building on which the plaque is affixed is at the corner of Roseville Street and La Route du Fort.
Members of the public are welcome to attend.
More details on the Vingtaine de la Ville can be found on their website, www.vingtaine.org
For interviews etc. please contact either:
Senator Paul Routier on behalf of the Vingtaine de la Ville
(firstname.lastname@example.org telephone 07797 720097)
Freddie Cohen on behalf of the Jersey Heritage Trust
(email@example.com telephone 07797 714550 or 07835 737572)