The History Place - World War II in Europe


On June 10, 1944, a Nazi SS Division (Das Reich) surrounded the village of Oradour-sur-Glane in France then ordered everyone in the town, 652 persons, to assemble in the town square.

Once there, they were told by the Nazi commandant they were suspected of hiding explosives and as a result there would be a search and a check of identity papers. The entire population was then locked up, the men in barns, women and children in the church.

The Nazis then set fire to the entire village and began shooting the villagers with machine guns, then set the barns and the church on fire, burning the men, women and children alive, and shooting anyone who survived. A total of 642 townspeople -- 245 women, 207 children, and 190 men were massacred.

Three days after the massacre, a Catholic Bishop found the charred bodies of fifteen children in a heap behind the burned out altar inside the church.

The village of Oradour-sur-Glane was never rebuilt, forever standing as a silent monument to Nazi atrocities.

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