We have taken a visit to Oradour-Sur-Glane, with Paloma, our motorhome. We are parked on the official free aire just outside the ‘new’ town (N45.93568 E1.02471)
With a somewhat fitting grey and overcast winter morning, we are off to see what had been left behind.
For those who don’t know, imagine ….
It’s the 10th of June 1944, four days after D-Day, and a retreating German Waffen SS Unit entered the town of Oradour-Sur-Glane, France killing 642 men, women and children.
This was essentially the entire population of the town! No one was spared !
This was the worst civilian atrocity carried out in France during World War II.
Oradour-Sur-Glane has been preserved in the state that it was left in on that day, as a memorial to the hundreds of civilians who lost their lives.
So often when I have heard about war atrocities, the numbers involved are unimaginable to my mind.
So the opportunity to visit another town was a must (check out the Greek village where again the whole population was killed here)
Untouched for more than 70 years, its scorched sewing machines, pots, pans, bikes, and cars preserved as an eternal reminder of the reality of war.
Visitors are greeted by a simple sign with just one word: Remember.
It was so harrowing, like some sort of ghost village.
The first thing that struck us as we were walking down the gutted and empty streets to the sound of birdsong, was quite how large this village had been.
This was no backwater hamlet!
This had been a affluent town, with many motorcars and a train line running down the centre of the street, and there were countless houses on either side, and on the side streets leading away from the centre.
After a look around the church in which all the women and children of the village were killed, except one who escaped despite being shot.
We walked back towards the memorial centre where there is a memorial to those killed. Seeing the wall of faces (sorry no pictures allowed) faces of entire families, and their ages is heartbreaking and sadining
The oldest victim was 90 years old, the youngest was just a week old.