BHS / ENG
Oradour-sur-Glane, in Southwestern France, is the place of the most notorious single massacre of civilians in occupied France during the Second World War: on the 10th of June 1944, the SS division “Das Reich” killed 642 inhabitants: men, women and children. After the liberation of France, the French government decided to leave the destroyed village as it was and to declare the “Martyr village” a historical monument, which is as it remains until today, making Oradour a unique example related to the question of authenticity of memory sites. After the war, the French government also decided to construct a new village, a “new Oradour”, just 500 meters from the destroyed one, raising the question how to live and how deal with the memory of the massacre through the presence of ruins of the destroyed village just nearby. In 1999, between the destroyed and the new village, a “Memory Center” was opened, including an exhibition on the Third Reich, the Second World War and the history of the massacre of Oradour and its aftermath, and also an educational service dedicated to 30.000 school pupils every year. Until today, the memory of Oradour-sur-Glane remains a very sensitive topic, not only between France and Germany, but also within France, as among the SS-division figured also several soldiers from Alsace in Eastern France. – The group first visited the “Memory Centar” and its permanent exhibition, and then the destroyed village. We then met Robert Hébras, one of the six survivors of the massacre, who gave a testimony about how he experienced the day of the massacre and about his life since. We then had a guided tour of the new village and were received by the mayor. The next day, we had a discussion with the historian Pascal Plas about the memorialization process of Oradour since 1944 in order to put what we had seen and heard in its historical context.
Pictures of the visit:
In the destroyed village.
The entry to the destroyed village.
Conference with Pascal Plas.
Discussion with Robert Hebras.
In the new village.
Inside the memorial centar.
The website of the “Centre de la Mémoire” of Oradour-sur-Glane. Currently only in French language. http://www.oradour.org/
Website established by Michael Wiiliams with many information about the massacre of Oradour and its background, photos, a bibliography, practival infos about the site… In Englsih language: http://www.oradour.info/
Report of the “Deutsche Welle” from 2012 about the massacre and current investigations by a German prosecutor against six former soldiers.