The Germans were controlling that region at the time of the war and were brutally exploiting the civilians of southern France.
Almost all inhabitants of the town were killed during the massacre. It happened in the summer of 1944, almost one year before the war ended.
The Morning of the Massacre
On the morning that the massacre would happen, the Germans received the message that one of their officers would have been taken captive by the French in Oradour-Sur-Glane.
The Dieckmann’s battalion was in charge of the area and made up their plans to bring the town a visit that wouldn’t end well. When they arrived they ordered everybody to gather and get their documents ready.
When all the women and children were locked up in the church.
After the soldiers went through the town they readied their weaponry — the men in the town got shot in their knees so that they wouldn’t be able to flee the town and the Nazi soldiers.
After the shots, the soldiers set the barns on fire where the men had been put into. Just a couple managed to survive the horrible event.
The Women and the Children
Obviously, from within the church, all the women and children saw the flames coming out of the barns and tried to escape the church.
The moment they stepped out of the church, Nazi soldiers were ready to shoot all of them.
Ruthless act if you ask me, something the Nazis weren’t shy of.
Just three women & children managed to escape, but nonetheless, two of them were shot to death. Marguerite Rouffanche managed to survive through a hole somewhere in the church.
After that horrible day, the people victim of the Waffen-SS were buried by the survivors.
In total, 642 people were murdered that day and around 6–8 people managed to survive the horrible event. After the war, the responsible soldiers and officers were put to trial.
Some of them were released, and others were imprisoned.
After the war, president Charles de Gaulles decided that this village should not be rebuilt and should serve as some kind of a museum.
Since then, you can visit the town in the central part of France.
All war elements are still intact.
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Sources & References
- Oradour-sur-Glane. (z.d.). Holocaust Encyclopedia. Geraadpleegd op 8 mei 2022, van https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/oradour-sur-glane
- Een meisje uit Oradour. (2012). BBNC Uitgevers.