The uninhabited village of Oradour-sur-Glane and onto Limoges


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September 5th 2013
Published: September 11th 2013
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Another perfect morning has dawned again and another cloudless sky for a day out.

My sister KJ had read about a village not far from Brigueuil that had stood still in time for 70 years and had wondered whether we were going to visit it. A little research showed that the village of Oradour-sur-Glane (hereafter called OSG)was the scene of the most shocking atrocity committed by the Nazis on French soil during WW2.The German President had visited there yesterday and laid a wreath on behalf of the German people as the first official from the German Government to have visited the site in 70 years.

We set off mid morning and it took only about 20 minutes to reach OSG.

The whole population of the town, some 642 men, women and children, were executed by a German Waffen SS patrol on 10th June 1944.There is some contention as to why the Nazis carried out the massacre but after the war, Charles de Gaulle, the French President, declared that what was left of the town would be kept as a memorial to the townspeople murdered and so today it is effectively a museum. A new town was built and occupied after the war a couple of hundred metres away.

Entry to the town is through a museum where you can watch a movie made after the incident and then through a passageway under a road that brings you up steps and entry to the town.

There is a small sign asking for silence. And this was the amazing thing, as we walked around with 100 or so other people you could hear a pin drop. People just kept their talking to a bare minimum. It might have been that they took notice of the sign but it is more likely that like us others were mesmerised by what they were looking at and relating it to what happened to all those towns’ people who were ruthlessly murdered.

We walked around the town and went into the church were the women and children were separated from the men and the church set on fire.As the women and children tried to escape the flames they were machine gunned down as they fled the church.Ironically one of the few items that remained in the church and was still attached to a wall was the honour board of those from the village who died during the First World War.

Most of the buildings have a plaque informing what business was conducted there and there also a number of other plaques indicating where bodies of certain named people were found.

A link to a website for those who would like to read more of this shocking massacre from WW2 is www.oradour.info

It had been a very sobering experience for us and although the number of people who lost their lives here were nowhere near the number of those who died in concentration camps, it was the fact that this was a whole community who were brutally murdered for no sane reason. It is so hard to comprehend what must have been in the minds of those who perpetrated this massacre.

We needed something to take our mind off the hour or so we had spent at Oradour and so we set off for Limoges to see what sights that city had to offer.

Finding a car park was a breeze and it seemed oddly quiet downtown with very little traffic and few pedestrians around. Perhaps it was just the area we were in.

We were just a short walk from a sizeable park where the 14th July National Day fireworks are held. The impressive Limoges Benedictins railway station built in 1929 was just a short walk further on and we stopped there for lunch before heading on down to the Vienne River that runs through the city. Here there was a bridge that dates back to the 12th century and is still in amazing condition and used by pedestrians.

Further up the hill we walked through another leafy park to the Limoges Cathedral with the afternoon temperature warming up to 36C by the time we got ourselves back to the car and heading home.

Limoges has a world renowned reputation for porcelain but we obviously didn’t get about enough to cross paths with where it is made or shops that sell it for that matter.

As usual we managed a different route home winding through the countryside including a number of forested areas which is a feature of this part of France.

There was a lot to reflect on today after our visit to Oradour and with the troubles in Syria it seems the leaders of the world have not yet realised that their actions and influence can have a major effect on their communities and people.


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12th September 2013

How is that for coincidence
Wow-amazing to think how your visit coincided with what I had read in the Dominion that very day!
12th September 2013

It was one of the strangest places to visit and very moving after having read what happened and then putting the pieces together as you looked at the various locations and buildings within the town.

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