An Unexplained Massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane in France in 1944
The Second World War is behind us and the recorded surrender of Nazi Germany is almost close to 7 decades. The architect of the Nazi state Adolf Hitler shot himself in 1945 and the curtain came down on the most repressive state in European continent.
Hitler also created a state within the state in the form of the German secret police popularly referred to as the Gestapo. This was an instrument for Hitler to keep the masses in occupied Europe under their thumb by a series of acts that instilled fear in their minds. Some of these acts were without explanation and one can only surmise that such acts were some times random acts ; the purpose being to terrorize the populace of occupied countries.
One such massacre took place on 10 June 1944. No explanation is as yet available as to why the German’s carried out this massacre and despite nearly 7 decades we are nowhere near the reason for this German assault. If figures have a meaning on that fateful day the German’s shot dead 642 men women and children at Oradour-sur-Glane in France. This was just at about the time the allied landing in Normandy and could have been linked to it. But this is a conjecture as the Germans did not carry out massacres in France like they did in Russia and the East.
This massacre was carried out on a Saturday by soldiers of the Der Fuehrer Regiment of the 2nd Waffen-SS Panzer Division Das Reich. The Waffen SS was an elite regiment of the Gestapo and reported to Henrich Himmler, thus the possibility that Himmler himself had issued orders for these killings cannot be ruled out.
The Waffen Regiment in question was almost at full strength with 19,000 personnel. This particular regiment had 69 Iron Crosses to its credit more than any other regiment. It was thus chosen to attack village. The entire regiment was not used, but only some elite units under command of Otto Weidinger were instructed to go in and attack the village.
The provocation appeared to be the capture of a French resistance fighter Georges Guingouin and subsequent information that a downed RAF pilot named Len cotton was being sheltered in the village. This however could not be the real reason as the force used was disproportionate to the act of so called treason
On that fateful day the Waffen SS unit drove into the village in the early hours of the morning. The villagers were taken by surprise as the Waffen SS troops opened indiscriminate fire.
The Waffen SS troops herded the villagers in the church and started a looting spree. In particular they targeted the men outside and as per reports shot 190 of them. They followed up by setting the church on fire and 90% of the inmates herded inside burned to death. In this entire episode the German SS troops displayed extreme brutality and one wonders what the reason was for it.
The village is still there, mute witness to the massacre. The church where the women and children were burnt alive is also there for visitors to see. The brutality of the Waffen SS has no explanation. Lastly before leaving the waffen SS set the village on fire. Perhaps information of the massacre was passed to Himmler and he must have appreciated the conduct of the soldiers. But this episode is another blot on the conduct of the war in Occupied Europe. It was definitely a dark age lifted only when the Russians stormed Berlin.