Wednesday, January 30, 2013
On 10 June, 1944, troops of the 2nd SS Panzer Division, Das Reich, descended on the tiny French village of Oradour sur Glane. Women and children were herded into the church where they died under a barrage of hand grenades before the soldiers set it on fire. The men were forced into a barn where they were shot in the legs, doused with fuel and set alight. The Nazi troops then proceeded to turn the rest of the town to ruins.
Oradour still stands today much as the SS stormtroopers left it. De Gaulle ordered that the ruins be left, intact.
In the 1950's, sixty German soldiers were tried for the massacre, 20 convicted, but all were later released. East Germany refused to hand over former SS troops it held. Stasi records show about 6 of them who are still alive and the German state now wants an inquiry to see if they should be prosecuted.
642 French villagers were murdered in the massacre.