> France > Limousin >


One of the streets at Oradour-sur-Glane

On 10 June in 1944 German soldiers entered the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, they killed 642 men, women and children and all but destroyed the village itself. The reasons why Der Führer Regiment of the 2nd Waffen-SS Panzer Division Das Reich entered the village and carried out this atrocity are still not known. But, what remained of the streets and buildings have been left as a memorial, with only minimal preservational measures undertaken to stabilise the what is left of the village buildings. Today you can walk down the streets, with what is left of the tramway, the decaying cars, and tables and chairs all left as they were abandoned on that fateful day.

Period: World War II
Site: Village

Facilities at Oradour-sur-Glane:
open-year-round opening-hours onsite-museum onsite-information events wheelchair-accessible guide-dogs-allowed onsite-shop picnic-area toilets wheelchair-toilet no-photographs parking bus-parking

The Centre of Remembrance is not open from mid December to the end of January, but the ruined village is still accessible. There is not entry fee for the village, but there is a charge for the Centre.

Where is Oradour-sur-Glane?

A summary of events of 10 June 1944:
At about 14h00 the SS troops arrived and surrounded the village. The inhabitants were ordered to go to the fairground (champ de foie). At about 15h30 the men were separated from the women and children. The men were divided into groups and sent to different points around the village where they would be executed. The women and children were sent to the church. An explosion was heard at 16h00, and then the machine guns opened fire and killed the men. The bodies were then ignited. Inside the church the soldiers lit of a box which produced smoke. In panic the women rushed to the door where they were confronted by the SS firing machine guns. Those that survived retreated back into the church where they perished in the fire along with all the children. Only one woman survived this barbaric act.

When the atrocity was discovered on the morning of 11 June, witnesses describe finding the smouldering ruins with remains of bodies in the streets, in the church and in some of the buildings. The streets were cleared but the insides of the buildings were left undisturbed. A new village was built nearby.

Further Information:

Oradour-sur-Glane in the News:

  • January 2014 – German man charged over WW2 Oradour massacre in France – BBC
  • September 2013 – German president visits France WWII massacre site – BBC
  • September 2013 – Oradour : Hollande et Gauck écrivent une nouvelle page de la réconciliation – Le Monde
  • September 2013 – Nazi massacre village Oradour-sur-Glane: where ghosts must live on – Guardian
  • January 2013 – 68 years on, German prosecutors return to Oradour – Daily Mail

Photographs of Oradour-sur-Glane

Why not share your experiences of your visit to Oradour-sur-Glane, leave a comment below.