The Oradours of France

    The name Oradour comes from the Latin "Oratio" by way of the Occitan word "Oradores". The original Latin meaning being, "a place of speech or prayer". In present day France there are a total of seven locations carrying this name, either on its own, or with a prefix or a suffix and it is obviously important to know which is which, especially if you are planning a visit. As it is common to refer to Oradour-sur-Glane simply as, "Oradour", in both speech and writing, there is plenty of scope for confusion.

    The punctuation of Oradour-sur-Glane is sometimes shown as, Oradour sur Glane (without the hyphens), but I believe that it is correct to include the hyphens (as is shown on the Michelin maps of France) and that is how it is spelled throughout this website.

    Oradour-sur-Glane lies within the geographical extent of the area within France that in the past spoke not French, but Occitan and in that language it is spelled as: "Orador de Glana".

    France is divided into a total of 96 Departments for administrative purposes and each is identified by a number and a name; I have quoted both below for each Oradour. Departments are roughly the same as English Counties from an administrative point of view, but have rather more autonomy over local affairs.

    The distances quoted below are in a straight line, by road they would all be somewhat longer.

    

     1) Charly-Oradour, in Department 57, Moselle. About 700km to the north-east of Oradour-sur-Glane. The connection between the two villages is that 44 inhabitants of Charly (and nearby Montoy-Flanville) were moved to Oradour-sur-Glane in late 1940 and died there on 10th June 1944. On the 12th August 1950 Charly was re-named, Charly-Oradour in memory of the dead. Roger Godfrin, the youngest survivor of 10th June and his family, originally came from Charly: see the list of their names and a photograph of the memorial to them in Charly-Oradour.

 

Menorial in Charly-Oradour
Charly-Oradour
Department 57
Moselle

    

     2) Oradour, in Department 15, Cantal. This village is a little smaller and is rather more compact than Oradour-sur-Glane. It lies about 170km to the south-east of Oradour-sur-Glane itself and is thus far too remote to have ever been confused with it in June 1944. It is very rural in character and sits in a wooded hollow surrounded by low hills: see entrance to the village and from the viewpoint.

 

Oradour Department 15 Cantal
Oradour
Department 15
Cantal

    

     3) Oradour, in Department 16, Charente. It is tiny on the map and in reality it consists of no more than a church and a Town Hall. It is in fact a somewhat odd place, as there are no other properties in the immediate vicinity. This hamlet lies about 90km due west of Oradour-sur-Glane and is thus both too small and too remote to have ever been confused with it: see entrance to the hamlet and memorial to the Normands.

 

Oradour Department 16 Charente
Oradour
Department 16
Charente

    

     4) Oradour-Fanais, in Department 16, Charente. This village is about the same size as, but of somewhat different layout to Oradour-sur-Glane, it lies about 28km to the north-west of it. However unlikely, if we are looking at the risk of confusion, there is the possibility that the two villages could have been muddled in 1944. There are some similarities in layout, for example in both cases the church is on the left of the road at the village entrance: see view looking west and view looking east.

 

Oradour Fanais
Oradour-Fanais
Department 16
Charente

    

     5) Oradour-Saint-Genest, in Department 87, Haute-Vienne. This village is much smaller than Oradour-sur-Glane, scarcely more than a hamlet (but with the inevitable church on the left of the entrance). It lies about 34km due north of Oradour-sur-Glane: see view looking south and view looking north.

 

Oradour-Saint-Genest
Oradour-Saint-Genest
Department 87
Haute-Vienne

    

     6) Oradour-sur-Glane, in Department 87, Haute-Vienne. The subject of this website and thought to have been a site of habitation for over 1000 years. See the Home page for access to all details, How to get there and places to stay, for travel and accommodation information and the modern road sign for the spelling of the place name in both French and Occitan.

 

Memorial in Oradour-sur-Glane
Oradour-sur-Glane
Department 87
Haute-Vienne

    

     7) Oradour-sur-Vayres, in Department 87, Haute-Vienne. About 28km to the south-south-east of Oradour-sur-Glane. In 1944 this Oradour also had a tram service from Limoges as did Oradour-sur-Glane. As is explained in the narrative of this website and especially in Chapter 7 of In a Ruined State, there is the real possibility that this Oradour could have been confused with Oradour-sur-Glane on 10th June 1944. See the Picture Gallery for photographs of Oradour-sur-Vayres.

 

Oradour-sur-Vayres
Oradour-sur-Vayres
Department 87
Haute-Vienne

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Michael Williams ... Friday 10th March 2000 ... this page was last updated on Saturday, 24 August 2013