|Walls of the Cite of old Carcassone|
The storyline in the book also talks of towns that had seen retribution by the Nazis for harbouring resistance members or organising resistance cells. One of these towns was Oradour-sur-Glane, north of Carcassone near the city of Limoges. After having read about it in a tour guide we decided to see for ourselves.
On Saturday, 10th June 1944, soldiers of the Der Führer Regiment of the 2nd Waffen-SS Panzer Division Das Reich attacked the village of Oradour. On that day they shot or burned alive a total of 642 people, including 247 children. They then proceeded to burn the entire village to cover up the massacre. No reason was given for their action to the inhabitants and to this day there is no universally accepted explanation for the massacre. It is, however, believed by some that it was some sort of retribution for either German soldiers being killed or as a warning to other villages about harbouring resistance members, although later sources have denied that there were any resistance fighters living in the village. As a memorial the entire village has been left as it was on that fateful day and surviving residents built a new town a short distance away. On the site there is also a museum giving a detailed history of the war, the atrocities carried out by the Nazis and the collaboration between some French officials and the Germans.
Walking through the desolate streets of Oradour is an eerie experience. Other visitors walk in silence, respecting the solemnity of the memorial, horrified by the atrocities carried out here. There are numerous signs attached to buildings telling you that this is the spot where a group of men were killed or that charred bodies were later found. The doctor's car still stands in the road where it was burned, a sewing machine belonging to the dentist's wife sits on the ground, its table burnt out. The facade and some fading signs are all that remain of the local garage.
|Ruins of Beaulieu Abbey|