On this day…….67 years ago, the SS murdered 642 men, women and children at the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane. The victims ranged in age from one week to 90 years. Most were inhabitants, but a few just happened to be seized as they were cycling through the village.
Soldiers from the 4th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment were on their way to confront the allies who had landed in Normandy four days earlier, when they were approached by members of the Milice, the French secret police who worked with the Gestapo, to say the Resistance were holding an SS officer hostage in the village of Oradour-sur-Vayres, about 15 miles from Oradour-sur-Glane.
It seems the SS got the wrong village. At Oradour-sur-Glane, they herded the men into barns, shot them, then burned down the barns. Then they locked the women and children in the church, set it on fire, and shot down any who managed to get out. Just one woman survived. Finally the village was destroyed.
Today its ruins are still preserved as a monument.
*Something more cheerful. My friend Johnny Bull’s wonderful picture of the Queen Mary, The Return of the Native, has been selling like hot cakes at the Royal Academy’s summer exhibition in London. Get along to see it while stocks last!