The Unsolved Aspects Of The Murder Of A Jersey Hero: Louisa Gould, 1945.
You could argue that this is a solved crime. Louisa Gould was murdered by the Nazis in a gas chamber at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. I suggest there are unsolved gaps because Mrs Gould was denounced by someone on Jersey for helping to save an escaped Russian POW. The person who did that is at least an accessory and in any case who carried out the actual killing is unknown.
Jersey was part of the chain of defenses the Nazis constructed to stop an Allied invasion. To our enduring delight and freedom their efforts failed. However, during the years leading up to the liberation of Europe huge fortifications were constructed. Such buildings need labour and that came from various sources, in part made up by Russian POWs.
Mrs Gould ran a store in the north west of the island. A POW called Feodor Buryi had escaped from the awful conditions he and his comrades were kept in. Many people bravely helped him avoid recapture. One of those was Louisa Gould. She had already lost a son of her own in combat and did everything she could to shield ‘ another mother’s son’ from the cruelty of the military occupation.
An anonymous letter was sent by an islander denouncing the middle aged widow and others. Fortunately the letter was intercepted by a patriot. They steamed the letter open. When they saw the contents of the spiteful anonymous text they warned Louisa Gould. They could not make it disappear without huge risk. However, they gave Feodor Buryi and co 24 hours to clear out and get rid of any evidence.
Unfortunately though Mr Buryi escaped a couple of things were overlooked in the Gould household. When the Germans raided the store, and adjacent house, there was enough to see a group arrest. These included Mrs Gould, her sister Ivy and her brother Harold.
By the time they were presented for trial, only just over a dozen miles away, they could hear the allied invasion making headway. Despite what I would say was more pressing matters the military authorities decided to sentence some of the group to imprisonment and deportation to Europe.
Louisa Gould was sent to the infamous Ravensbruck camp in Northern German. At first she taught English to fellow inmates. In 1945 she became seriously ill. I have just read that a typhus outbreak was prominent at the time. She was murdered in the gas chamber there on 13th February 1945. Her two year sentence had become an execution.
Her brother Harold survived the equally horrific camp of Belsen.
The letter was anonymous and so this was not a case of a mortally threatened person turned against their own. If that had been the case they would have just told their handler to gain breathing room. There are rumours as to who it was. Sticking to our policy we are not going to name them unless it was proved. What is reasonably certain is it was a neighbour or customer of Mrs Gould. It was a fellow citizen of the Channel Islands.
How low is that? Even if they hated Mrs Gould surely the fact that the Germans had invaded and totally ruled them without any justification should have been hated more. Even if they hated Mrs Gould what could they have hated about Feodor Buryi?
Whoever operated the gas chamber at Ravensbruck was ultimately responsible for the murder of this Jersey lady. However, the person who wrote the letter may has well have been there at the time handing over the gas cannister that killed her.
I have copied a list of Channel island folk who died as a result of the occupation of the this small chain of rocks. I would also like to mention that about 400 POWs died on the island as well. Please note I have seen the POW death toll as higher so if you know different, as always, we would appreciate being corrected.
Channel Island People Killed
Canon Clifford Cohu
Walter Allen Dauny
George James Fox
Maurice Jay Gould
Peter Bruce Johnson
William Howard Marsh
Edward Peter Muels
Leonce L’Hermitte Ogier
Frederick William Page
Clarence Claude Painter
Clifford Bond Queree
Marcel Fortune Rossi
John (Jack) Soyer
Joseph (Joe) Tierney
Frank Rene Le Villio
Another more clearly defined unsolved Jersey murder was covered by us last week. The 1966 killing of Tuula Hoeoek