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Oradour-sur-Glane, France

By Mark Waldie 
Originally published by World War II magazine. Published Online: March 12, 2009 
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Justice was not done after the war either. Though the remaining members of the 1st Battalion were put on trial by the French for war crimes, many of the soldiers were from Alsace, a border region that had changed hands between France and Germany numerous times in the past. At the end of the Second World War, the French regained control of Alsace. In an effort to bond Alsatians back to France, the government granted amnesty from war crimes prosecution to any Frenchman who had fought for the Germans, and the 1st Battalion Alsatians were released from prison. A walk into Oradour's cemetery reveals that the victims' relatives, as a protest against the government, have deliberately not allowed the victims' remains to be buried in the official crypt.

As I walk out of the ruined village, still silent, I think again of the six hundred forty-two people who were killed and then burned. Two hundred five were children.

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Then I notice that one of the French boys in the still-silent group of schoolchildren ahead of me has vomited on the floor of the restroom. By seeing the actual ruins of war, perhaps he and his classmates, like me, have been affected more deeply than by seeing the typical statues and monuments. I know I will never forget what I saw at Oradour-sur-Glane.

When You Go

Oradour-sur-Glane is located in the Limousin region of France, about twelve miles northwest of Limoges. Best traveled to by car, it is a natural stop on the way south to the scenic Dordogne region. Admission to the Centre de la Mémoire costs seven euros, but entry to the village is free.

Where to Stay
Adjacent to the ruined village is a new Oradour-sur-Glane, rebuilt in 1953. Oradour is home to two hotels: the Hotel de la Glane, 8 Place du Général de Gaulle (33 05 55 03 10 43); and the Hotel le Milord, 10 Avenue 10 Juin 1944 (33 05 55 03 10 35). Other accommodations can be found two hours north in Sarlat, where visitors can feast on specialties such as fois gras and cabécou cheese, available at the weekend market. Gîte Toulemon, a seventeenth-century house built on twelfth-century foundations in the heart of medieval Sarlat, offers three large rooms to tourists (33 05 53 31 26 60; toulemon.com/anglais.htm).

What Else to See
Southwestern France is home to numerous prehistoric sites. Two of the most famous are the Lascaux caverns and Font-de-Gaume, each of which boasts a formidable collection of prehistoric cave paintings.
 


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3 Responses to “Oradour-sur-Glane, France”


  1. 1
    Müller says:

    Nice story…..

    Todays french partisans are Taliban, they are killing NATO soldiers with hidden bombs…

    and the NATO is fighting back. Killed civilians are called colateral damages and US-troops just changed from very brutal to a nicer behavior.

  2. 2
    Abris says:

    Nice comment Muller-,… But STUPID! As the little Nazi said.

    Now why don't you take your political rant somewhere else?

    War is war; big scale or little scale it's all the same. US Soldiers call it Hell; the Taliban call their war 'the work of Allah'.

    Frankly I don't care what a bunch of 10th century backwards thinking/living pretenders to Islam think as long as I don't have to see their shaggy muttonheaded results. However if I do have to clean up the mess they make flinging crap around from where they are murdering innocents and protesters of their so-called social-religious system. Because they are bringing it into my country and my country's forigen policy then they deserve to get their asses handed to their arisol sprayed remains. If that responce kills children or women I remember that war has been declared on MY women and children too by them and since my country doesn't murder innocents as a matter of course as we wage war then I have the moral high ground.

    Let the Taliban be damned and beware.

    Oradour-sur-Glane was destroyed because some waffen SS junior officer was hopped up too high on meth to be makeing such a decission about the disbursing of possible civilian-combatants because the dumb assed 3rd Reich had made enimies of anyone who would supply them coffee to their front line soldiers and occupying forces. Meth induced paranoia got alot of those "Master -Race" folks; They also thought the world was a better place a thousand years before and wanted to go back to living there too.

    I'll bet they have opened up a brand new subdivision of Hell right next to the Natzi Suburb

  3. 3
    Jane g Taylor says:

    Nothing compares to the ghastly tactics of the nazi reich. I just found this town in an old dusty book and checked the Internet.a madman sociopath in command saw prisoners as an unnecessary expense and burden to the economy and gave the directive.
    peace keeping by NATO and securing the worlds oil may be wrong —–like all occupations, but it is all we can do right now.
    The more the population surges over 7 billion,the more we will vie for resources



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