Oradour-sur-Glane Ghost Town


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   Map

Please don't take any souvenirs out of respect for those who lived here

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Description of 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 Rouffanche


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.