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Posted on Aug 17, 2005 in Front Page Features, Stuff We Like

Oradour sur Glane

Armchair General

The Memorial.

Just off from the cemetery, an underground memorial sits in peaceful garden surroundings. A small flight of steps leads downward into a sort of tomb area where more display cases contain personal effects of the dead.

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In the centre of the main area, an illuminated display cabinet in four sections can be found. On the four walls, the names of the dead are again inscribed in stone panels and lit from below.

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Again, it is hard to know what to say when met with watches, money, and other personal items held by those who died on the tenth of June.

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Like everything else, these items are a snapshot in time of daily village life.

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Not pictured (because the lighting was so dim) are the numerous examples of children’s bicycles and pushchairs which are enclosed within this space – all rusty and fire damaged, not even the children’s belongings were safe from the SS.

* * *

A visit to Oradour is not easy, the melancholy feel of the buildings is almost overwhelming at times, and I challenge anyone not to enter the Church without a small quiver when one realises what took place within its walls. However if you really wish to understand the true nature of Nazi Germany and the occupation, you cannot begin to comprehend the horrors perpetrated by the regime without visiting such a sad place.

At Oradour, even the birds don’t sing.

A J Summersgill

andrew@armchairgeneral.com

To view the complete set of images from my visit, go to the ACG image gallery here.

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1 Comment

  1. I heard a rumour that the real reason for the massacre was that there was a great deal of gold bullion that had to be removed very quickly and the massacre was an excuse or cover up for those wishing to hide the fact that they were there to take the gold, and that a day before a crack team of special forces people arrived to oversee the shipment wondering if you could shed any light on this, it was something i learned at school years ago back in the seventies
    best regards
    Sean Schofield

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