If you have never lived in France, chances are that the name “Oradour-sur-Glane” will not ring a bell. And yet, what happened there on June 10th, 1944, is too important to be ignored.
On that day, a 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich gathered all the inhabitants of the village without any explanation. The soldiers led the men to barns and sheds, shot them in the legs, then set the buildings on fire.
Their next order was to burn the church where the women and children had been locked. Those who tried to escape were met with machine-gun fire. Afterwards, the village was looted.
In total, 642 people died.
After the war, French president Charles de Gaulle had a new village built nearby. It serves as a memorial and museum.
Oradour-sur-Glane is located in the department of Haute-Vienne, 25 kilometres west of Limoges. Visiting it will force you to confront the savagery and pointlessness of war. It is a necessary and haunting experience!
I will share more photos of Oradour-sur-Glane in the next two posts.