The Car of Doctor Desourteaux (from the front)
The car of Doctor Desourteaux (a Peugeot model 202) on the Champ de Foire (Fairground). According to Sarah Farmer in her book, Martyred Village, this is actually the car of the village wine merchant. The Doctor's car was moved from the Champ de Foire to his property several days after the massacre. The doctor had arrived back in Oradour from visiting a patient whilst the round-up of the villagers was taking place. He parked his car here and joined his father the mayor in waiting to see what was going to happen. This view is one of the best known of all the images of Oradour, symbolising as it does, a frozen instant of time. As can be seen the vehicle is gradually fading away and all the original paint has long gone. The preservation of such remains is going to become a major problem for the future, as inevitably they will decay. The main road running through Oradour, the 'Rue Emile Desourteaux' can be seen in the background. See also, the car from the rear, next the interior view, next an undamaged example and finally a comparison between the car in June 1998, June 2010 and October 2018.
© Michael Williams revised January 2011