France 2022 (Oradour-sur-Glane)

I visited a very special lost place. Lost, but not forgotten. A place you won’t leave untouched. In the 1940-ties, Oradour-sur-Glane was a small village, counting surrounding steadings, it had about 1600 inhabitants. There were three schools, a doctor, pharmacy, butcher, baker, a petrol station and other shops. A small village like others in teh region. It had even a railway station, connecting the village to the city of Limoges, about 20 km away.

On June 10th, 1944, 643 inhabitants were brutally killed by the SS-Division “Das Reich”. The village was burnt to the ground by the SS after the massacre. After the war, the village was declared a memorial and museum and left in the original state. It is still as it was, but traces of the fire are slowly washed away by rain.

Today, a stone wall surrounds the village. You may now enter the village through the museum and memorial center, that was openend in 1999. In the tunnel, that connects the center with the village, portraits of victims are shown, printed on white tiles. Their eyes followed me walking between the ruins of the village.

These are no ruins, crumbled to dust through centuries. These ruins are the result of a day of brute force and violence, conserved ever since in that state.

Only stone walls and metal parts could withstand the fire. Inside and between houses, bycicles, sewing machines, bed frames, tools and a few cars can still be seen. 

The center of the village is a patch of grass, surrounded by houses. Nearly peaceful, if the houses were not burnt down ruins.

Women and children were brought to the church, men were locked into barns. They were all killed there, either shot or burned alive. Only a few of the responsibles had to answer in court.

Remains of a pram, lying in front of the altar.

The clapper of the big bell, molten into the remains of the bell.

Isn’t it time to stop raising this subject? No, it isn’t! It isn’t, as long as such crimes of war are still happening around the world.

All pictures are out-of-cam (only scaled down for the website). They were taken with my Olympus E-M1ii and the 45mm f1.2 lens. I limited myself to this lens and took the pictues in black and white with slightly stonger gradation to emphasis on the atmosphere.