The car of Doctor Desourteaux showing restoration work

    In this close-up view of the passenger side of the Doctor's car on the Champ de Foire in Oradour, you can clearly see the recent welding work done to each end of the sill. This has been done in order to insert a rusty piece of metal (in the same style as the original) as a repair to the structure. The repair has been done to improve the structural rigidity of the decaying body shell and has been carried out in such a way as to maintain the appearance of the car as it was in the years following 1944. Inevitably as time passes, the car will deteriorate still further and more and more 'repairs' like this one will have to be made in order to preserve its appearance. Eventually the car will end up like Grandfather's axe (it had been repaired so often that it had three shafts and two new heads), with nothing of the original remaining. This problem of containing decay is insoluble; everything decays over time and gradually becomes more and more artificial. The preservation of the ruins is currently being done in a sensitive manner and it is to be hoped that future generations will continue to treat Oradour in the same way. See what the car looked like prior to the repair.

The car of Doctor Desourteaux showing restoration work to the sill

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Michael Williams: January 2013