Oradour: Raids on Former SS Soldiers

Some 67 years after a brutal massacre by SS troops in the French town of Oradour-sur-Glane, German officials have raided the homes of six elderly men suspected of taking part. But the investigation may not get far. Little evidence was found, and the suspects were either unfit for interrogation or denied the allegations.

It was according to this report in Der Spegiel, “one of the worst war crimes committed by the Germans in France during the Second World War.”

An old, rusting sowing machine is a silent wit...

Silent witness wrecked sewing machine – Image via Wikipedia

The post office of Oradour-sur Glane. This is ...

The destroyed Post office at Oradour-sur-Glane Image via Wikipedia

Wendy and Damian Brown, an Australian couple, keen European history buffs and readers of this paper recently paid a visit to the site which Wendy describes for us thus: “We had a very sobering visit to Oradour-sur-Glane on the way to Paris. This town bombed and burnt by the Nazis on 10th June 1944 – note that is after D-Day – by a German SS Panzer division which had moved steadily up through the Lot carrying out atrocities.

It had made a stop at the village of Cardaillac, near Figeac, where soldiers rounded up the townspeople and shot 3 teenage boys, then moved northwards to Issendolus near Gramat where there is a memorial to the resistance fighters the division killed in a barn in the village. The plaque under the cross here says simply: “Pour la barbarie Allemand”. The SS then travelled on to Oradour-sur-Glane. Here the townspeople were rounded up – the women and children driven into the church and the men into three different places. 642 were killed – machine- gunned when they tried to escape -and then the town was set afire.

France has left the town just as it was, with wrecked cars, power lines, train tracks and ruins as they were on that summer’s day 1944. The whole town is a memorial, accompanied by a very in-depth and interesting museum which pays wonderful tribute to the villagers and also shows  a detailed history of the Resistance, France’s role in the war and WW11 history. There are plaques on many of the buildings naming the occupants who died, their crafts and trades or the shops they owned.

A new Oradour has been built above the original site and I think anyone who is travelling through to Paris by car from the south-west of France should definitely make a side trip. It is well worth it.”

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