This is not really one of my usual blogs however let me explain. Some years backs we were in the general vicinity of Oradour-sur-Glane and were told the story of this town by some French people. We decided it was a place we wished to visit. This trip – February and March 2018 – was a little different for us. We were not in the motorhome but touring in a car. We stayed the night a couple of kilometres away from the town and visited the memorial the following morning.
Because we were so close we arrived at the memorial building early and were among the first on the site that day. It was a bitterly cold grey winter’s day – somehow that seemed appropriate.
Put simply on the 10th June 1944, the German army rounded up all the men, women and children of the town. The men were split up among barns in the town, they were shot in the legs, had petrol poured over them and were set on fire. The women and children were locked in the church and then the building was set on fire. It seems likely that only 7 or 8 people escaped the immediate massacre and 3 of those were shot that day. 642 people died. See here for a rather fuller version of events.
It was decided that the town should be left exactly as it was that day and it remains like that. To me it felt less than appropriate to take photographs there – the whole experience was powerfully moving. It is absolutely right that we should remember – it is sad that such abuses of humanity still continue.