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Oradour sur Glane

Wednesday 27th May

Oradour sur Glane is a place that I had heard of from other travelling bloggers but not knowing exactly where it was we managed to miss it the last time we were in this area (I did have the excuse that Lucy was feeling ill at the time and I had my mind on other things).

Oradour sur Glane is located about 20 miles to the west of Limoges, try not to miss it if you are in the area.

On the 10th June 1944 the village was subjected to one of the worst Nazi war crimes committed on French soil. German lorries belonging to the SS ‘Das Reich” Division surrounded the town and ordered the population into the market square. The men were divided into groups and forced into barns where they were machine gunned and the buildings then set alight.

The women and children were forced into the church which was set alight along with the rest of the town.

This day had been the set for a vaccination program and was also the day that the men from the surrounding area would come to pick up their tobacco ration. In all 642 people including 193 children were murdered by the Nazis. The same SS Division had been responsible for another atrocity in nearby Tuille two days previous in which 99 Resistance sympathisers were strung up from the towns balconies as a warning to others.

Since that time the entire village has been left untouched as a memorial to those who died.

Entry to the village is through the Centre de la Memoire which puts into context the actions that led up to this day. This was an excellent source of information especially with the audio tour that we used.

I was going to take my big camera with me but before leaving Frankie realised that it might not be appropriate so tucked my small camera into my trouser pocket. At no time did I really think that it was a suitable place to be taking photos, there were bullet holes and blackened remains of buildings, it was a sad place but also one that needs to be visited to ensure that future generations know what can happen.

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