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Oradour-sur-Glane is a village close to Limoges which stands as a giant monument to the atrocities of war. General de Gaulle requested the village to be left in this condition as a reminder to the mindless acts of man in times of war.oradour-sur-glane image

Once a typical peaceful pretty French village thriving with life, a central hub of the local communes where people would make a point to come and visit the vast array of shops and facilities, plenty of places for families to have picnics and generally enjoy themselves.

The people of Oradour-sur-Glane were well aware of the German occupation in the surrounding areas but considered themselves “distant” from the events and effects of the Second World War.

All this was to change in one fell swoop on June 10th 1944. A group of German SS soldiers were stationed at St Junien, a nearby town. They moved into Oradour on this hot June day and began to segregate the inhabitants, women and children into one group and the men into several other groups. At the time, there was nothing to suggest the forthcoming chain of events and the people assumed it was the preamble to an identity check.
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How far from the truth could this assumption be? The women and children were taken to the church and the men to several barns. Within a short period of time, Oradour-sur-Glane was raised to the ground. 642 people executed and their bodies burnt leaving just 6 survivors. The youngest to suffer being just one week old.

In the trial that followed in 1953 it was found that the act was a measure of retaliation by the SS against resistance activity.

At this time, a new town was built alongside the remains of the sprawling, sad monument of a previous time.

Author : M.Elliott (Oradour-sur-Glane)