This has to be one of the most surreal places I’ve ever visited.
23 miles West of Limoges in the South West of France, is this small village with a big secret.
On the 10th of June 1944, Nazi soldiers surrounded the town, ordering all of the women and children in the church and all of the men into 6 different barns and garages. They shot all the men in the legs, doused them in petrol and set fire to the barns and garages, before setting fire to the church. 642 people died, with only 6 people escaping. 5 men and 1 women.
Why You Should Visit Oradour-Sur-Glane…
You can walk around the town and see what it now looks like exactly as it was left on that day. There are burnt out bed frames, pots and pans and sewing machines littered in the houses. Cars are left in the middle of the road, bicycles in the garages of houses and most chillingly, a buggy in the church.
The only thing that has been added are plaques have been put up to show you where all of the shops/facilities were and who they belonged to including the butches, bakery, tram station, restaurants etc. There’s also 6 plaques around the town to show you were the groups of men were murdered. Some houses have plaques listing the inhabitants names and ages to commemorate them more personally.
The pictures speak for themselves. It’s deeply moving, but very important to help tell the story of France during World War 2.
Instead of rebuilding the village, it was chosen to remain as a memorial to the tragedy and has been kept completely authentic. A new village was erected just outside, so Oradour-sur-Glane still has life.
There’s also a memorial in the graveyard which you can also walk around. Whole families, some across four generations are buried in mass graves which is truly heartbreaking.
Don’t miss the little museum that has a collection of smaller personal items, such as children’s toys, cutlery, ID cards and letters, pocketwatches and money. They’ve done a beautiful job preserving the history of the village and the complete tragedy that happened here.
We visited Oradour-sur-Glane as a recommendation from a couple we met on our Europe Road Trip. It was a place that peaked our interest and we added it onto our route on the last leg of our three month tour.
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