France’s Minister of Justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti, marked the occasion on Friday, visiting the village which was destroyed by the SS Das Reich division during the final days of World War II. He stopped at the cemetery to leave a wreath at the monument to the martyrs.
Ex president François Hollande also participated in official ceremonies remembering those killed in the nearby town of Tulle, two days before the massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane.
On June 10th, 1944 – just days after Allied forces had begun the D-Day landings in Normandy – Nazi forces stormed into the central south-western French village of Oradour-sur-Glane, setting fire to the town and killing 643 civilians.
On 10 June 1944, 78 years ago today, 643 lives were cut short in the small French village of Oradour-sur-Glane, near the city of Limoges. Thread 1/8 #oradour #France #Frenchhistory #oradoursurglane pic.twitter.com/QNAgO57sW3
— Robert Pike (@pikerobert) June 10, 2022
The massacre was planned as ‘retribution’ for the actions of French communist resistance fighters, known as francs-tireurs partisans, who took up arms and successfully retook the city of Tulle from German soldiers.
Oradour-sur-Glane remains as a village martyr and has never been rebuilt, the ruins maintained as they were left by the Nazis.
It was a decision by French President Charles de Gaulle, with the intention of showcasing the atrocities committed during World War II. If you walk through the village now, you will be struck by the reminders of the lives lost – old, burnt cars, rusty sewing machines on tables.
— Henk Haarlem 🇳🇱🇹🇭🦟 (@Henk_Haarlem) June 10, 2022
On the site is also a memorial museum at the entrance of the “martyred village,” as well as a memorial site at its graveyard.