Wednesday, May 19, 2010


We spent 6 days in the Dordogne and I still can't pronounce it the way the French do. When someone asks me where we've been and I give them my pronunciation of Dordogne, they haven't a clue where it its. I have to show them on a map or write it out for them. Then they get a good laugh at the way this crazy American attempts to speak French.

We said goodbye to Ken and Linda, who I might add were superb hosts and started a two day 700 km drive to Verdun. On the first day of the drive we made a detour to see Oradour sur Glane, a village that was destroyed by the Germans in WWII. The village has been left as it was after the Germans killed all but a few of the residents and burned the village.

On June 10, 1944 a column German solders entered the village and began rounding up all the residents. They were told it was for an identification check and to search the village for weapons. Up until this time, the residents had not had any real problems with the German Army, so there was no resistance. Once all the villagers were assembled, the men were separated into six groups and taken to different barns in town. The women and children we taken to the church.
After about 1 hour, the Germans began machine gunning the men and setting the barns on fire. A fire bomb was place in the church and ignited. 642 men, women and children perished. The only survivors were 5 men who escaped from one of the barns and one women who climbed out a window behind the alter in the church. The entire village was burned, destroying every building. All that is left are the remains of walls and things that were made of metal.
The French government has left the village as it was then as a reminder. A new village was built next to it. As you walk through the destruction, you can see everyday items that would be in any home and business. I was surprised to see so many sewing machines, but I suppose every household had one back then. There are bicycles, frames of baby carriages, farm equipment and cars and trucks still in their garages. It was a very moving experience. There are small plaques on most of the buildings identifying who lived there or the name of the business that occupied the site.


1 comment:

Julie Camacho said...

Very sad what one human can do to another.
Did you get me a sewing machine?