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Oradour, France

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posted by Terry alias TerryCym on Tuesday 27th of May 2014 06:59:41 PM

On 10 June, 1944 a German Waffen-SS company led by Adolf Diekmann sealed off Oradour-sur-Glane and ordered everyone within to assemble in the village square to have their identity papers examined. The women and children were locked in the church and the men were led to six barns and sheds, where machine guns were already in place. The village was then looted. According to a survivor's account, the SS men then began shooting, aiming for their legs. When victims were unable to move, the SS men covered them with fuel and set the barns on fire. Only six men managed to escape. One of them was later seen walking down a road and was shot dead. In all, 190 Frenchmen died. The SS men next proceeded to the church and placed an incendiary device beside it. When it was ignited, women and children tried to escape through the doors and windows, only to be met with machine-gun fire. 247 women and 205 children died in the attack. The only survivor was 47-year-old Marguerite Rouffanche. She escaped through a rear sacristy window, followed by a young woman and child. All three were shot, two of them fatally. Rouffanche crawled to some pea bushes and remained hidden overnight until she was found and rescued the next morning. About twenty villagers had fled Oradour-sur-Glane as soon as the SS unit had appeared. That night, the village was partially razed. Several days later, the survivors were allowed to bury the 642 dead inhabitants of Oradour-sur-Glane who had been killed in just a few hours. Adolf Diekmann said the atrocity was in retaliation for the partisan activity in nearby Tulle and the kidnapping of an SS commander, Helmut Kämpfe. A new village was built nearby after the war, but President Charles de Gaulle ordered the original maintained as a permanent memorial and museum.

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  • Published 12.02.21
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