Oradour-sur-Glane

This post is for the topic on the Gallery of ‘Travel’ and Alphabe-Thursday letter ‘O’.

I’m sure we will see lots of wonderful picture of exotic places or certainly places that have brought lots of delight to the poster.

The image that immediately came into my mind is this one.

This is Oradour-sur-Glane a town in west central France. It is a very sad place that you perhaps would not chose to visit but as with many museums and shrines, it is a place that needs to be seen.

It was June 10th 1944 when a German Waffen-SS company massacred 642 men, women and children. At the time there seemed no reason for it ( as if a reason would have made a difference). Over the years many theories have been put forward among them that the town was mistaken for Oradour-sur-Vayres where activity by partisans resulted in the kidnap of a German officer.

The accounts from the survivors tell of being  gathered together to have papers checked. The men were split into groups & taken to different areas of the town. The women and children were taken to the church. At a given moment they were all shot, some in parts of the body which would result in a long death. Over night the town and bodies were burnt.

Trials to bring the perpetrators to justice started in 1953 and went on intermittently until 1983 when the last judgement was passed down.

The town itself remains just as it was on that fateful night. As you walk round you see furniture with personal items still there. You can begin to understand life in a French rural home with everyone having a sewing machine – all still there but burnt. When we visited, it was a beautiful day but although there were many people around it was almost silent walking around.

It is known as the Martyr Village and is a permanent memorial to the atrocities that man can commit against man. A new town has been built just a little way from the ruins but when we stopped for some groceries, I was aware of an atmosphere, a feeling, almost a cloud over the town despite the heat of summer. Maybe it was in reaction to what I had just experienced. The feeling stayed with me for several days and even looking at the photographs, I can feel that chill again. Please take time to watch the slideshow.

[slideshow]

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