Friday, June 6, 2014

70 Years Later and Oradour Still Awaits Justice

Oradour-sur-Glane is a fully preserved, ruined village that was the site of the worst Nazi massacre of civilians carried out in France during WWII. In all, 642 people (almost the entire village population), including 247 children, were shot or burnt alive on June 10, 1944. To this day, there is no adequate explanation for this act of barbarity.

The women and children of the village were locked in the church and the church set a fire. Only one woman managed to escape through a window. The men were led to barns and sheds where machine guns were waiting. The victims were first shot in the legs so that they would die slowly. Once they were no longer able move, they were covered with fuel and set on fire.

Of the approximately 200 German soldiers involved in the massacre, only a handful ever saw any form of justice. Last year, German President Joachim Gauck toured the ruins and stated, "I share the bitterness over the fact that the murders were never brought to justice. I will address that in my country and will not remain silent." Recently, an 88-year old former member of the SS was been charged with his involvement in the massacre, but whether he will see trial remains a question.

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