Monday, 20 September 2010

Round and About - Oradour-sur-Glane

My friends (D & D) who visited me earlier this month from Ireland spent the first few days sightseeing  without me. As our new gates had just been installed, the wood needed to be painted as soon as possible and before they had any rain on them. I have now almost finished the painting and I will show you the finished result  quite soon. It has been very slow, as I have been trying to do other jobs as well, and an opaque finish took many more coats than I had expected.

D and D's first visit was to Oradour-sur-Glane which is a commune in the Haute-Vienne department in the Limousin region in west-central France. The original village was destroyed on 10 June 1944, when 642 of its inhabitants, including men, women and children, were massacred by a German Waffen-SS troop, apparently as a reprisal for the shooting of two SS officers by the French Resistance. A new village was built after the war on a nearby site, but the original has been maintained as it was left, as a memorial to the martyrs. There are numerous vehicles, bikes and household furniture still among the rubble, all lying where they were that fateful day. The one thing that was particularly noticeable was the number of sewing machines in each house. The community must have been keen machinists.

I saw it in 2007 and I am glad that I have been there, but I have no wish to visit it again. Walking around the village, I almost felt sure the ghosts of the past were still there watching over the place.  I found it very spooky and deeply disturbing.

Further information on the massacre see http://www.oradour.info/ruined/ruined.htm

Here are a few photos I took when I visited it previously.
This is one of the most famous views, with the remains of the Doctor's car in the foreground.


The remains of the Post Office

The Church. 
Women and children were marched off to the Church and the children were encouraged to sing.  After they had left, the men were divided into 6 groups and led off to different barns under armed guard.  When the townspeople were all shut away, the SS began to kill them all.



They will not be forgotten.

46 comments:

  1. Hi Diane .. Very interesting post but oh how sooo sad :-( not sure I would want to go, maybe just once I suppose.

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  2. Your photos of the village are stunning. What a waste and tribute to our stupidity. I, too, have been through areas where I felt surrounded by ghost. I found it difficult to walk through the Killing Fields in Cambodia. The silence was so loud it deafened. Thanks for sharing this with us. Blessings...Mary

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  3. Anne it is a place that I think people should see, but having been there once I do not want to go again. As you say it is so very sad. There is little you can say under these circumstances. Diane

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  4. Mary, D & D have also been to Cambodia and they told me what it was like. Not a pleasant experience, but it is good people see and hear what really happens in the world. As you say though what a waste. Diane

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  5. That is an eerie looking place too. Tragic story too. I would have been uncomfortable too.

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  6. Becca it was a very tragic story, and yes very eerie. Dciane

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  7. Diane, the photos give me a strange feeling up an down the spine, besides the sensation that someone just pushed me behind the knees. Yes, it is a necessary, horrible reminder of man's inhumane actions against others.

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  8. Mya I though hard before putting this post out. I agree, occasionally we do need reminders of what inhumane actions take place in the world. Not pleasant.
    The photos still have an effect on me as well. Diane

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  9. I am so glad you posted this. It is a place I have always wanted to see...one time, only. It is like Dachau. I saw it once and that was enough, but it is necessary for all men to see it. It is a constant reminder of how wrong things can go.

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  10. It's one of the places we missed on our 2008 trip and had we known about it beforehand it would certainly have been on the list.
    Since then I've become more aware and even viewed it on Google Earth.
    You ask, how could this happen?
    Leon

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  11. So sad and horrific. I bet it is a very spiritual place. Thanks for sharing the photos.

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  12. This is a horrifying story. I don't think I'd go back, either.

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  13. Oh wow, it must be so hard to visit a place like that. I agree though, we need reminders of these things no matter how hard they are for us to think about. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. Susan, one time is enough I could not agree more, but it is a harsh reminder and one that should not be forgotten. Diane

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  15. Leon you are right, how could this happen? It did though and there is no going back. Most of my visitors have never heard of it, so I try to make sure they get there early in their visit so they have the time to take it in. Maybe you will get to see it on your next visit. Diane

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  16. Pam horrific is right, but yes it is a spiritual place and walking around the grave yard is a feeling that I cannot quite describe. It seems so peaceful and quiet after everything the people have been through. Diane

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  17. Marjie, one visit was enough for me, but it will not be forgotten. Diane

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  18. Faith, it is a very harsh reminder but one people need to know about. Diane

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  19. I knew about this place but have never seen such detailed photos. I find it truly fantastic and I am glad they have kept it the way it is. It's a great reminder of something that simply can not happen again.

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  20. JM I am also glad that they have kept it this way as a very stark reminder. I sincerely hope that you are right that this could not happen again....
    What a horrific thought. Diane

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  21. I am sure there are many ghosts there Diane. Tragic times!!

    I forgot to tell you what a stunning header you have again!!

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  22. Oh gosh what a disturbing place even just viewing through your blog post, interesting though.

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  23. Joan I am certain their are ghosts there, though under normal circumstances I do not believe in ghosts! Very tragic times.

    I thought the header might warm all of us North of the equator who are heading for winter:-) Diane

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  24. Lindy it is very disturbing, but a place I think people should know about. Diane

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  25. Oh I agree and am glad you posted about it.

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  26. This is a rather spooky place. Yet good that it has remained as a reminder.

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  27. It's good to visit such places once, in memoriam, but I can understand how you may not wish to go back again. Near us there's a village (Poble Vell) left just as it was after the civil war attack.

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  28. Jan I agree it is good to keep some of these places as reminders. I hope that they do some good! Diane

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  29. Ive been there a couple of times Diane - very thought provoking but like you I think twice is enough.
    I would encourage people to visit though, and it's a very peaceful place to be despite it's history.

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  30. Roz I make sure every visitor I have here makes the time to go there. I agree it is very peaceful, but I still had this feeling of being watched while I was there. Diane

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  31. Diane, this is a very interesting post with a sad story. It serves as a great reminder as to the destruction of war. I can remember how upsetting it was to see Dachau and some areas where the evidence of the war remains.

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  32. Pam it is a very sad story and yes it is a reminder. Problem is there always seems to be a war somewhere in the world. I wonder why people cannot live in peace! Diane

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  33. Well, that's interesting!
    A friend of ours just told us about this village and its sad story.
    It's fine if some feel it's worth keeping that way, but I can't prevent myself to think I may not like it the other way around... If French soldiers under orders had done the same in a German village, how would French descendants feel about it... Why shame them for something elders did?
    Food for thought!! !))
    Keep well Diane and thanks anyhow for the tour, it certainly must be very painful to roam about those eery streets!!

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  34. Thank you so much for your kind comment on my photo at Tomatoes on the Vine this morning. :-)

    I have read of this story and was just gutted. Thank you for your photos and telling me more about it. I can only imagine how difficult it was to be there, yet how important at the same time.

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  35. Rambling Tart I think it is important to remember. Hopefully this sort of thing will never happen again. Diane

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  36. Noushka I think you will find many countries have similar stories to tell and remains to show. I hope that it has the effect of stopping this sort of thing happening again.

    I had second thoughts about publishing this story but it seems most people agree it should be remembered. Diane

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  37. Thank you for sharing these photos Diane. I know the feeling I get just looking at the photos, I can imagine what it's like being there in person. I had that feeling when I went out on the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. You are right it should be remembered!

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  38. Lyndsey Thanks for your comments and agreeing that it should be remembered. Diane.

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  39. Excellent post and wonderful pictures. I can see why it would be a place to just visit "once". The memories of that would stick with you for a LONG time. Thank you for sharing!

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  40. Thanks Debbie for your comments. You are right, they are memories that stay put! Diane

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  41. What a fitting tribute to the brave people of the town. They are gone, but not forgotten.

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  42. My goodness...so heartbreaking! How did I miss this post?? Thanks for putting a link back to it. This is quite a story and one I've never heard.

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  43. Deb from WhatsInMyAttic it is quite a story and one that is hard to believe. Sadly the end result is still there for all to see. It is a very difficult place to walk around. Diane

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