Written by Jodi Pickens
So traveling on an equal mix of small country roads and highways we make our way to the town of Oradour-sur-Glane. Driving into the new town of Oradour we buy a sandwich and eat outside the entrance in a park area before touring WW II martyred town of Oradour-sur-Glane.
Oradour-sur-Glane (LINK) was a small town of about 600 people, who were murdered by the Hitler’s German SS Waffen troops on June 10, 1944, just 4 days after D-Day. There were 2 possible reasons this town was destroyed. First was the Germans wanted to set an example to other towns that resistance to the Germans is futile and not to side with the Americans. The second was that they just plain got the wrong town looking for the French Resistance.
What ever the reason the Nazi’s looted every house and business, killed every man, woman, and child in cold blood, before torching the whole town. The French Government has left the town exactly as it was from that day as a remembrance and memorial. One word etched in stone as we entered the town, “Remember.”
We strolled the burned out streets and buildings, all labeled with plaques of what business it was and who owned it. We saw a bakery, butcherie, dentist office, seamstress, hair salon, with all with supplies and tools the Germans they didn’t want. Just about every home had a burned up sewing machine. Many cars were left in front of homes and in car garage repair shops, all burned and rusted.
We turned one corner and saw the church, we both knew that the women and children were rounded up and killed there, it was hard to enter. And there was no way we could bring ourselves to take photos inside the burned out church, it was too sad. About the same time we entered the church, a dozen or so French soldiers were also touring the grounds, they were sniffling as they walked the church.
Around the corner, was the street that led to the cemetery and memorials. Again, we couldn’t bring ourselves take photos as we saw the face photos of whole families who had been killed. At the back of the cemetery was an official memorial listing the names and ages of everyone in town, ranging from 12 days to 80 years old, it was a very sad and heart wrenching sight. As we exited the cemetery, Terry and I both could not comprehend how 200 Nazi’s could be in the frame of mind to kill women, men, babies and older people, they had to be psychopaths. It was mind boggling at the thought.
We left Oradour, in a somber mood, reflecting on the surviving family members from other towns, who still go back to Oradour to tend to the memorials by placing flowers and notes. It must still be so hard for them even after all this time. See additional photos HERE.
PLEASE ALWAYS REMEMBER AND NEVER FORGET
Why must history keep repeating itself?