The last witness of Oradour Sur Glane

On the 10th June 1944, a group of nazi soldiers entered the village of Oradour sur Glane and massacred, as a reprisal for what some resistants had done the day before, its whole population, apart from a handful of persons of all ages who managed to survive, or escaped before the massacre took place. Men, women and even more than 200 children were slaughtered.

First they entered every single house and evacuated all the people in it, before grouping the total population in the "village place", then they separated the men from the women and children. 

I will not give any details on this blog of what happened next, but Oradour sur Glane is considered as one of the worst tragedies of the history of France during World War II.

Before leaving, the Germans burnt the entire village.

As a hommage to the hundreds of victims, the village was left exactly as it was after the Germans left it. Nobody ever touched it, and even today it has not changed, apart from the rust which is slowly nibbling whatever is made of metal.

I have visited Oradour sur Glane twice, in the early 90s. I must say that it is extremely impressing to see this village. 

You really have the impression that time has stopped.

You still have 1940s cars in the middle of the streets, and apart from the fact that they are now rusted, they seem to be endlessly waiting for their driver to come back.

You can see gas pumps of those days, in front of what must have been a garage.

And the old electricity poles, with their cables still attached to them...

You can still see, inside a ruined house, the boulanger's equipment to bake his bread...

As if it had happened yesterday... 

The village is now a memorial that you can visit. Of course, it is advised, if not requested, to remain silent during your visit.

Image in the public domain. Credits

If I am talking about this today, it is not even because of the anniversary of this tragedy in a few days, it is because the last survivor of the massacre, 96 years old Robert Hébras, who was a teenager at the time, and living in the village, published a book yesterday (1st June 2022) with his grand daughter Agathe, where he tells about what happened before, during and after the massacre. 

No doubt that I will buy this book as soon as possible, as I personally consider witnesses to be the best people to pass on the memory of history, and all the messages that go with it. 

Robert Hébras has been interviewed yesterday on the French radio France Info, and if you have a good level of French (B2 and over), you will be able to understand what he is explaining.

Below is the podcast of the interview, that I have embedded here from the radio's website. I can only hope that they will never delete it, but keep it online so the next generations will be able to listen to him too. 


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