Oradour-sur-Glane is an
abandoned ghost town located in Haute-Vienne
department, Limousin region in the Western Central France. This small village
is famous for a horrific massacre that occurred here during
World War II. Some 642 of its residents were massacred by the SS troops as a
punishment for presumed support of the French resistance.
Location: Haute-Vienne department, Limousin region
Please don't take any souvenirs out of respect for those who lived
Oradour-sur-Glane Ghost Town
On 10th of June 1944, just
days after D-Day invasion, several soldiers from the First Battalion, 2nd
Waffen SS Panzer Division "Das Reich" arrived in this quiet French town.
Under premise of a security check for participants of local Resistance,
citizens of Oradour- Sur- Glane were forced to gather at the central
market square. Peasants in the fields were also rounded up and brought
to the city. Here soldiers divided women and children from men. Women
were forced to march into local church, while male population were
marched in group of six to the barn. Small village church was packed
with 200 women and children. German soldiers mined the nave of the
cathedral and blew it up. Then the opened fire at the survivors that
tried to rush out of smoke filled building.
Most of those who tried to escape
the smoke and confusion were gunned down by machine gun fire.
Crammed inside, we waited with growing
anxiety to see what would happen. At around four o’clock, a few soldiers
brought a large box, with a few strings trailing out of it, into the
nave. The strings were lit and the device suddenly exploded with a loud
bang. It gave off a thick, black, suffocating smoke. Women and children,
half-choking and screaming in terror rushed to the parts of the church
where there was still some breathable air. Madame Marguerite
Same scene repeated in the barns
with the men of the village. Hundreds were killed by the soldiers in
cold blood. Those who were wounded were executed with close range shots
to the head. Then SS troops burned the bodies along with large portion
of the village. Very few men managed to escape the execution in the
barns. Madame Marguerite Rouffanche was the sole survivor of the
killings in the church.
The total body count was 642 people dead. After residents
were killed SS troops started torching homes of its former residents.
This part of France was liberated few months later by the advancing
Allies troops. French General Charles de Gaulle came to this village. He
walked through the empty streets of Oradour- Sur- Glane and before
leaving he ordered the ruins left as they were without changes as a
memorial to the citizen civilians who were massacred here. The ruins
of the village still stand today as a silent memorial for those who perished
there. In case you decide to talk too loud and disrupt the piece of this
huge cemetery there is a friendly warning at the entrance to the village
that says "Souviens Toi" or simply "Remember". Centre de la Memoire is a
visiting centre and a museum that is dedicated to preserve the history
of World War II and its victims.