Oradour-sur-Glane 10th June 1944
25) Following the attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine on 7th January 2015 and the French authorities response to it, the official website for Oradour was taken down by hackers. Many other French websites were also targeted at this time, in a move which was largely unreported outside France itself. The website was up and working normally by the beginning of February 2015.
24) An 88 year old man was arrested in Germany at the beginning of January 2014 and accused of being an SS soldier present at Oradour on 10 June 1944. He was named as being, "Werner C" (actually his name was, Werner Christukat) and on 9th December 2014 he was released without charge, due to a lack of evidence against him. As time progresses it is becoming less and less likely that anyone new will ever be either charged, or convicted of anything to do with Oradour. Witnesses cannot now be expected to reliably identify suspects and as in the case of "Werner C" (who admitted being there), being there does not prove any guilty involvement with the killings. The current Mayor of Oradour-sur-Glane, Philippe Lacroix, is to appeal, but frankly, I do not think that he will succeed.
23) I have just obtained copies of most of the statements made to the German authorities examining the case of Oradour in the early 1960's. During the following months I will translate these statements and the results will be announced on the Additions and Updates page in due course.
22) The German police have arrested six men in Dortmund on 5th December 2011, all of whom are believed to be ex-members of the Der Führer regiment who were present at Oradour on 10th June 1944. No names are available yet, or any details of what charges the men may face if they are brought to trial. These men are thought to be ones who did not stand trial at Bordeaux in 1953 and so may have to face justice, 66 years after the event. Watch this space for further details as they emerge.
There has been a development on 30 January 2013, in that the German authorities are now saying that they intend to take some action, exactly what form this will take we will have to wait and see.
21) A Timeline has been added to the website.
20) The transcript of the judgement of Heinz Barth's 1983 trial in East Germany has been added to the Appendices.
18) A new section of the Picture Gallery has been added containing higher definition photographs of some locations.
17 A new section titled, "PoW Interrogation transcripts", added to Appendices.
16 ) A new section has been added to the Picture Gallery dealing with the massacre by Das Reich at Marsoulas, also on the 10th June 1944.
15) Heinz Barth died in his home town of Gransee during August 2007, see Chapter 6 of, In a Ruined State for more detail.
14 ) The full transcript (in English) of Otto Kahn's statement made in Dortmund in 1962, where he describes Diekmann as saying that the massacre was to be carried out on orders from above, is now on this website in the Appendices, under the section dealing with Kahn.
13) It is now possible to buy the DVD, "Oradour retour sur un massacre" with English sub-titles from the Centre de la Mémoire: see the Bibliography.
12) Photograph of Otto Kahn's grave added, various minor changes throughout the text relating to him and his post-war life.
11) I have now added a transcript of the program, 'Oradour retour sur un massacre' to the Appendices. This is the program which it was claimed in 2003 (by staff at the Centre de la Mémoire) that was to show that Oradour was destroyed to orders and indeed some evidence in the program seemed to indicate that this was correct. Before blindly accepting the 'destroyed to orders' version of events, read the full statement made by Otto Kahn in 1962 (shown in the Appendices and mentioned in item 14 above).
10) The official French run website for Oradour was undergoing a re-launch in time for the 1st of February 2006. Initially it was in French only, but English may be supported in due course.
7) It may be of interest to some of you to note that the earliest records that I have found for Otto Weidinger, show that he was a concentration camp guard at Dachau in 1934 (see Appendices for details).
6) The official website for Oradour opened initially in French on Sunday 23 February 2003 and from July 2003 has also been available in English, German and Dutch. It only gave bare details of the event itself, very little background data and from personal experience, did not seem to reply to email. The English section contained spelling, grammar and translation errors which the Centre de la Mémoire did not seem to want to correct. A good example of an error being in the, "Why Oradour / Reflections" section, where they quoted the Bible as, "Terror is everywhere said the Eternal: Jeremiah Chapter 46 Verse 5". The correct quotation from the King James Bible being: "For fear was round about, saith the Lord". This error and others were reported to the Centre in July 2003, but were never acknowledged or corrected. However those particular errors are no longer relevant, as the website has been re-launched without, (to date) showing those quotations and was now (December 2009) in French only.
5) I found out in September 2002 that Roger Godfrin, the youngest survivor of the massacre died in 2001 aged 65. Two of the survivors from the Laudy barn were still alive in 2004, Robert Hébras and Marcel Darthout. Jacqueline, one of the Pinède girls was still alive, but her sister Francine and (handicapped) brother André died some years ago.
4) Following the tragic events on 11th September 2001 in America, the US government declared a, "war on terror". By mid-January 2002 the first of the captured suspect terrorists (from Afghanistan) were being incarcerated in the American base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (some have subsequently been released without charge).
There has been much controversy over the American announcement that these people will not be treated as prisoners of war under the terms of the Geneva Convention on Land Warfare.
What is interesting about the above statement is that following the D-Day landings, General Eisenhower broadcast to the Germans on the 8th of June, the demand that they accept that all members of the French Resistance be accorded combatant status and when captured, be treated as prisoners of war.
3) The section dealing with the euro is now located at How to get there and places to stay.
2) The 26 episodes of, The World at War, are often repeated on television. This documentary series is a favourite with minority interest program schedulers all the world over and wherever you are located, there is the possibility of its being shown. The first episode opens with a brief tour through Oradour-sur-Glane and the last one re-visits the village. Oradour was chosen by the programme makers as a symbol for the horror and tragedy of World War II and the whole series is well worth watching, containing as it does many interviews with survivors from both sides: see Bibliography.
1) Philip Beck, with whom I have had correspondence, has published another book in September 2004 on the subject of Oradour titled: Oradour: the death of a village. (see the Bibliography). Sadly Philip passed away in 2007.
© Michael Williams: revised
Saturday, 20 August 2016