Last year we were travelling France, and did a croissant making course and during this our hosts suggested we visit the town of Orodour-Sur-Glane, which was completely demolished by SS soldiers near the end of WW2. Orodour-Sur-Glase is (or was) a small town located about 45 minutes from Bordeaux and makes a great day trip if you are interested in war history.
This story of Oradour-sur-Glane is very sad and is a story of murder in the worst degree. SS soldiers approached in 1944 and initially sai they were there to check the identity of the locals. However, they had much more grim plans and started separating the men and women - women into the churches and men into barns. This was just a cover, and the plan was to murder everyone in Oradour-sur-Glase.
After being killed by machine guns and other weapons, the SS soldiers wanted to destroy any evidence, and so lit the bodies on fire and also destroyed as much of the town as they could and left. There are differing opinions as to why Oradour-sur-Glase was attacked with such viciousness and brutality with some suggesting it was a retaliation to an earlier attack on a German SS officer.
It is suspected that 642 people were murdered that day, and only one person survived.Some locals heard or saw the SS soldiers approaching and tried to escaped or warn the town but it was to late and they were all captured and suffered the same fate.
It is incredible to see that Oradour-sur-Glane is basically as it would have been when the SS soldiers left - appliances still lay in place and it one can easily imagine the layout of houses here. There are many cars that have been burnt out and left to rust away.
There is a museum nearby which gives context and information about the massacre, and is a great place to start as it highlights the atrocities that occurred here.
Although it is a sad place to visit, it is a reminder of the atrocities of WW2 and how war destroys people, families, communities and whole countries.
Although the majority of the information shared here is from memory from the museum nearby, fact checking was also done online and the sources are shared below:
All photos taken by me!