Oradour is back in the news again, via a recent book on the subject; 'Silent Village' by Robert Pike.
I imagine that most people know the appalling story of Oradour-sur-Glane; a village about 2 hrs to the North of where I live.
Exactly 77 years ago on the 10th of June 1944, soldiers entered the town of Oradour-sur-Glane, ordered all the inhabitants to gather in the village square, then separated the men from the women and children.
The men were all 'machine-gunned', and the women and children forced into the church, and burned alive. The soldiers left the village with not a single building unscathed. All 642 innocent villagers were brutally murdered, and the buildings, etc, in respect, have hardly been touched since (see Wiki). The village apparently had had no resistance workers (Maquis).
It was the Brits who, later joined by the Americans, saved Europe from this type of barbarism, the Concentration Camps, and from semi-compliant occupation. The UK lost 450,000 citizens whilst assuring France's liberty, so one might have imagined that the French would be a tad grateful!
Charles de Gaulle ran from France, and spent much of WW2 safely within the walls of a pleasant home in Hertfordshire, England. Those of us later seeing those photos of him proudly leading his men down the Champs-Elysées on August 24th 1944 (above) to celebrate the end of German occupation, are 'slightly bemused'; to say the least.
Back in France, on July 4th of 1940, de Gaulle was tried as a 'deserter' and was sentenced to 4 years in prison, in absentia, and his French nationality was withdrawn. Then on August 2nd 1940 he was again tried, and was awarded the death penalty, as well as military degradation, his loss of nationality, and the confiscation of all his property. Four years later he amazingly returned to France as a 'General', and was treated as a hero.
The blood of our ancestors remains on French soil, but now that we've left their expensive and inefficient European club, they wish to ignore all that, and are doing their best to punish us.
The French will never forget Oradour. RIP.
This is a shocking case I did not know about. I will read more about it later. In Poland, in parts of what is now Belarus, entire villages inhabited by Jews have been erased in this way, I learned about them recently when I investigated what happened to my grandmother's sisters who lived there.ReplyDelete
Some terrible things were done in the war, by terrible people. Many were tried and sentenced, but most escaped the law and went back to their ordinary lives!Delete
Hels, Art and Architecture in my sidebar, wrote about Belarus as described here by Yael, in a post a few days ago.Delete
Thanks for the information Rachel'=,i'll go and read it now.Delete
I remember Oradour well and the horror we all felt at learning about it and the wondering how individual German soldiers who took part in the atrocity ever lived with themeselves afterwards.ReplyDelete
'Only obeying orders' Weave. As long as they kept repeating that, they were OK with themselves.Delete
I visited near out in 2005. I was apalled. I knew nothing of it.ReplyDelete
To see the burnt out houses, the bullet peppered church walls, inside the church, I might add, alongside telephone wires and tram lines where it seemed a team could arrive at any moment.
The memory will live with me forever.
It was just wonton slaughter. The previous day they had hanged 99 people in the town of Tulle. They must have enjoyed it.Delete
I do indeed know of that awful history, having researched it in association with a piece of militaria we have (came to conclusion chap selling it had added the story for "authenticity".ReplyDelete
Didn't know that about de Gaulle and bemused that suddenly at the end of the war he was a "hero".
And Pétain then became the accused, and was jailed for his part in all the collaboration, etc.Delete
I admit to being ignorant of de Gaulle's dubious history, although my other half has a keen interest in all things WWII related so probably could have told me. De Gaulle does not appear to have been a man of great integrity.ReplyDelete
And the fact that he opposed the UK's entry to the 'Common Market' tells you a lot about him.Delete
Well, I never knew that about De Gaulle. Thanks for the history lesson. Sounds like he needed more than the big slap that Macron received the other day.ReplyDelete
de Gaulle was an oddball; he ran away to England midst war, then ran back home again as a hero.Delete
I had read of this, but forgotten the name of the city. Cro, there's a blogger who lived in Paris during WWII. She has written her first post about it. Look for the blog Recollections of a Vagabonde.ReplyDelete
I'll have a look, thanks.Delete
Shocking and so close to end of the war and very close to de Gaulle's march along the Champs-Elyees. The action of the Germans was not an act of war but pure murder. I had not known the real story of de Gaulle, and I probably should have.ReplyDelete
Having said that, the war was a long time ago and I am not sure it is relevant to modern day relations between the the UK and the EU. The UK has behaved in very opportunistic ways post WWII. Some people my age will remember how the UK dumped Australia and New Zealand as suppliers when it joined the Common Market.
I think you're right, but I must say that I've never stopped eating NZ Lamb and butter, and Aussie beer has always been drunk by the bucket load. I'm sure there are other examples.Delete
Horrific. There were similar atrocities here as well. The mind can hardly grasp the terror of this massacre.ReplyDelete
I didn't know the story of De Gaulle either. Anything but a hero
The last war showed several nations in their true colours. Some very nasty people about.Delete
We visited Oradour years ago when our kids were very little (on our way to Charentes) and even now my kids remember it. The sight of a baby's pram burnt out in the church is what sticks with me to this day. I thought at least one little boy ran away from the school round up and hid in the fields and thus survived. Could be wrong but I gave my book on it away to the old pappy next door!ReplyDelete
One or did did survive, but they were eclipsed by the huge number who didn't. All very sad, and still remembered.Delete
I know the story .it’s always there in the back of my headReplyDelete
I briefly mentioned to my builder that it was the 77th anniversary. He simply replied that he too remembered.Delete
I have stood in that Church several times. The feelings I had then and in Oradur generally are beyond my ability to describe.ReplyDelete
I didn't know of this terrible mass murder; I have just bought the book you mention. I find it very hard to understand how 'Just obeying orders' could make anyone feel OK about carrying out those orders.ReplyDelete
You need to seek.out the Eichmann Trial either in tv archive, BBC or Netflix, or read Hannah Arendt. The banality of evil. Eichmann said he was obeying orders.Delete