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
opportunity 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
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
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. It is worth remembering that Department 87, the
Haute-Vienne has no less than three Oradours in it, including Oradour-sur-Glane.
The distances quoted below are in a
straight line, by road they would all be somewhat longer.
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
Oradour, in Department 15, Cantal.
This village is a little smaller and is rather more compact than
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
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
to the hamlet and
to the Normands.
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-Saint-Genest, in Department 87,
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
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
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.
Oradour-sur-Vayres, in Department 87,
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.
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© Michael Williams ... Friday 10th March 2000 ... this page
was last updated on
Sunday, 09 December 2018