Memorial to the kidnapping of Kämpfe on the N141
This picture shows the memorial to the kidnapping of Sturmbannführer Helmut Kämpfe about 2½ miles east of St. Léonard de Noblat on the N141. The inscription reads, "Close to this place on 9th June 1944 at 21:00 hours, the section of Sergeant Canou of the brigade of Colonel Guingouin captured Sturmbannführer Kämpfe, Number 1 Hero of the SS armoured Division Das Reich. By this exploit the resistance contributed to a delay of 48 hours in the march of this division toward the Normandy beachhead. General Eisenhower recognised before Emmanuel d'Astier de la Vigerie (French resistance leader, known as "Bernard") in July 1944 that the actions of the resistance had saved the allied bridgehead. This homage is addressed to all men who love Liberty". See close-up of the inscription which is the closest thing to an admission that I have seen by the Resistance that it was their action in killing Kämpfe that led to the destruction of Oradour.
In the search for Kämpfe following this abduction two local men were being shot dead by the SS, simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time; one of the many minor tragedies of the war.
© Michael Williams: revised February 2011