"Remember!" Oradour-sur-Glane Church

Souviens Toi: Remember! Oradour-sur-Glane Church
"Souviens Toi: Remember!"

    As can be seen, the main roof of the church and that of the steeple have been completely destroyed. The church entrance is on the right and up the steps at the base of the steeple and the entrance to the Sacristy is the opening on the left, near the corner of the building. The window through which Madame Rouffanche escaped is out of sight round the corner to the left. Down the road and just visible on the left is the original southern entrance to the ruins of Oradour, it is by this way that the SS came on 10th June. Compare this view with that of September 1944 and also that of November 1944. The church was the main site for the murder of the women and children, over 400 died here during the afternoon of the 10th June 1944. Like most churches in rural France, this one in Oradour belongs to the Catholic faith and was dedicated to Saint Martin. The message here is to: "Remember!"

    The landmark television series, The World at War, (see Bibliography) used Oradour-sur-Glane as a symbol of the horror that was the conflict of W.W.II. and both the first and the last episodes contained the following narration spoken by Laurence Olivier ...

    "Down this road, on a summer day in 1944 . . . The soldiers came. Nobody lives here now. They stayed only a few hours. When they had gone, the community which had lived for a thousand years . . . was dead.

    This is Oradour-sur-Glane, in France. The day the soldiers came, the people were gathered together. The men were taken to garages and barns, the women and children were led down this road . . . and they were driven . . . into this church. Here, they heard the firing as their men were shot. Then . . . they were killed too. A few weeks later, many of those who had done the killing were themselves dead, in battle.

    They never rebuilt Oradour. Its ruins are a memorial. Its martyrdom stands for thousands upon thousands of other martyrdoms in Poland, in Russia, in Burma, in China, in a World at War . . ."


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© Michael Williams: minor revision February 2021