Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
71Trip End Jul 10, 2011
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Where I stayed
Comodoliac Hotel - Saint Junien
We reached Saint Junien and checked into the Hotel Comodoliac. It was bloody hot when we arrived. The temperature was 29 degrees and it felt hotter.
We dumped our stuff and headed off to Oradour-sur-Glane, which is about 12 km away.
Oradour-sur-Glane is a martyred village; wiped out by the Germans in WW2. As a former history teacher, Greg knew the background and was keen to see for himself the place where an horrific act of barbery occurred at the hands of a battalion from the Das Reich Division of the Waffen SS on the 10th June 1944.
As you will recall, D Day was the 6th June 1944 when the Allies landed on the Normandy beaches. The French, after four years of Nazi subjugation, arose with wide spread acts of sabotage by the Resistance. As a reprisal, the Germans decided on an Act of Terror to demonstrate to the local population that all forms of resistance would not be tolerated and would be met with extreme violence.
On the 10th June 1944 about 200 SS soldiers surrounded the village and herded the population into the village square
where the men and boys were separated from the women and children. The men were shot where they stood and/or taken a short distance into the fields where they were finished off.
The women and children were forced into and locked in the town church
642 villagers were massacred including 205 children.
The village was never re-built and left as a memorial to the atrocity that occurred on the day.
The word "Remember" is written on all signs leading to and in Oradour-sur-Glane.
Somberly we rode back to our hotel not talking, each lost in our own thoughts about mans' inhumanity to man.