Close-up of the altar

Close-up of altar in Oradour church

    The Altar in the church with flowers left over from the 10th of June remembrance day ceremony (the picture was taken about 10 days later in 1998). Madame Rouffanche escaped from the church by climbing a set of steps used to light candles and jumping through the middle window. She was followed by Madame Henriette Joyeux (née Hyvernaud) and her 7-month-old son René both of whom were killed. These three are the known escapees, however it is possible that a little later, Sarah Jakobowicz also escaped this way, but broke her ankle and was shot. Sarah's was one of the 52 identifiable bodies out of the 643 that were killed, which does suggest that she did not die in the church. A mystery is why the location of all the identifiable corpses was not accurately recorded at the time of their recovery, but I suppose that the pressure of the situation prevented a forensic and dispassionate investigation of the crime scene. (see Chapter 2 of In a Ruined State and also POW report of 7 July 1944). The wooden door on the left of view leads to the Sacristy.

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© Michael Williams: revised February 2012