The changing nature of comment about this website

    Since this website first opened on the 10th of March 2000, I have received many emails from all over the world concerning its content. At first many of the writers echoed earlier authors who had written about Oradour and whose aim seemed to be to either find excuse for the actions of the SS, or at least to show that other groups (mainly the French Resistance) might have provided them with some justification for their actions in the village.

    As the quantity of published data increased, these challenges have diminished, almost to the point of ceasing altogether, the most recent such challenge coming from someone who had not read all the published evidence on this site.

    For some reason the SS and especially the Waffen-SS seem to hold a fascination for many people, especially those living in the USA and Australia and whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with the study of the history of WWII, many people living in those countries seem to admire the SS and have the wish to exonerate them from their actions.

    What is truly surprising about the actions of some of the exonerators is that they have tried to explain away the actions of the SS at Oradour in terms of them 'becoming confused' by events and misinterpreting explosions within the village as an attack upon themselves. The reason why such explanations are unrealistic is simply that the official historians of the SS, such as Otto Weidinger, have never attempted to say that the attack was anything other than planned from the start. It does seem strange that third-party historians seem keen to produce excuse versions of the story, when the SS themselves have admitted what happened.

    Since the publication of Otto Kahn's statement on this website and the narrative of In a Ruined State, these claims have dramatically reduced. Today, most email comments and queries relate to, 'how do I get to Oradour by train?' and 'are dogs allowed in the ruins?' The negationists and excusers seem to have either given up and admitted they were wrong, or have written me off as a hopeless case, not worth arguing with: I hope that it is the former.

    It is worth stating again, that the SS veterans, in all their published works have admitted that they carried out the attack on Oradour-sur-Glane and that it was the unauthorised actions of Adolf Diekmann that led to the tragedy. There was no confusion, there was no attack by the Resistance, there were no explosives hidden in the church and there was no atrocity by the Resistance which provoked the attack.

    A point which may or may not be significant, is that the only author of any recent work on Oradour who has contacted me has been Philip Beck and he broadly speaking agreed with my findings. None of the others, including the Centre de la Mémoire have ever written to discuss the case, or to exchange information with me. The attitude of the Centre de la Mémoire has been especially surprising, because I supplied them with copies of all the SS data that I had, at a time when they had none of it at all. Since then they have been silent.

    The major point of disagreement today is between my view and the 'official' French view originating from the Centre de la Mémoire, which says that the massacre was carried out (for unstated reasons) on the orders of Lammerding. My own explanation is simple, Diekmann carried it out on his own initiative in response to the capture and reported killing of Kämpfe.


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© Michael Williams: revised 14 December 2012.