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Charly-Oradour and Oradour-sur-Glane
Charly, Moselle was renamed in 1950 to Charly-Oradour
in memory of the massacre of Oradour-sur-Glane, Haute Vienne 10 june 1944.
The official French website (limited to Oradour ) has an English section: Centre de la Mémoire.
But I took my information mainly from the website of Michael Williams ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
who tries to describe the role of all the actors involved in the tragedy in Tulle the day before
till the massacre in Oradour: Oradour-sur-Glane 10th June 1944.
There is no final conclusion.
The church of
a small quiet village
10 Jun 1944
after the disastre
|Plaque of memory of the Lorrains died in the disastre||7 stones around a pillar mark the 28 victims of 7 different families of Charly|
When in 1940 after the occupation by Germany the members of the "Souvenir Français" in Elsace-Lorraine were deported, we see also in novembre 1940 that people of the village of Charly who preferred to hold their French nationality get one week to prepare their departure. Only the people working in the mines or at the railway could stay. Also Emile Pincemaille had to leave his village Charly. They were transported with the train to the south and the centre of France, under the Vichy Régime. Two weeks later his son Marcel and Clément Pincemaille, his grandson living in Metz were put on a list and they get only one hour of time in the morning before they were set on busses to the railway station. When they arrived at their destination they could reunify the family.
Unfortunetaly a lot of the neighbourghs of Emile Pincemaille of Charly installed them in Oradour-sur-Glane, Haute Vienne, , Fra. and on the 10th of June 1944 almost all the inhabitants of Oradour were massacred by the German SS of the division "Das Reich" on their road from the South to Normandy. As a memory to this disaster (28 deaths for Charly) Charly was renamed to Charly-Oradour in 1950
? How and Why this Massacre in Oradour-sur-Glane ?
from the Massacre of Tulle 9 june to Oradour-sur-Glane 10 June 1944
Oradour-sur-Glane is situated in the department "Haute Vienne" . At that time the sitution of this region was very complex.
An underlying conflict between the french communist resistance (FTP) and the Milice of the Vichy Regime will hardly influence the events.
1. This department lied in the region under the Viche régime of general Pétain. This part of France which was allowed to govern itself was called, Vichy France, because its headquarters were at the spa town of Vichy. The Vichy regime had a great sympathy for the "Action Française", a catholic, nationalistic and royaltic movement, sometimes antisemitic. They liked to reinstall the socalled old french values. The Milice was the military arm of the Vichy Regime.
2. The Communist Resistance, called the FTP, was a ruthless group who during the war years killed many French people whom they suspected of working with the Germans or "capitalists". They estimated to install a communist regime after the war and ware on that point and through their unnecessary violence even in conflict with the more moderated legal resistance.
It means that not only the German Army was interested to stop the actions of the FTP, but also the Milice. On the other hand most people were against the german occupation but also not hapyy with the actions of the FTP and their consequences for the civilians..
1. The 2nd SS-Panzer Division "Das Reich" - 6th of june - moved to Normandie
Towards the end of 1943 the 2nd SS-Panzer (Armoured) Division, 'Das Reich', was moved from Russia to southern France so that they could be re-equipped and re-trained. The chief in command was the SS General Lammerding. One of Das Reich's young officers was Adolf Diekmann who had been severely wounded fighting the French in 1940. He had been shot through the lung and had spent several years as an instructor on light duties at the SS-officer training school at Bad Tölz, before going to Russia in the autumn of 1943. Another officer was Diekmann's friend Helmut Kämpfe, who had spent several years in Russia and had recently won the Knights Cross (Germany's highest award) for his bravery in halting a Russian tank attack.
When the invasion began on 6th June 1944, the 2nd SS Panzer Division 'Das Reich' (15,000 men aboard 1,400 vehicles, including 209 tanks) under the command of SS General Lammerding, was ordered to move north to Normandy to help the rest of the German army repel the allies and throw them back into the sea. As soon as the SS began to move north they were attacked by the Resistance. At every step along the way they were ambushed and shot at. The Resistance could not do much serious damage to Das Reich, but they could and did irritate the troops a great deal, in the same way that midges can spoil a picnic. To avoid these actions the Germans were hardly intreseted to find the cached arsenals of arms of the resistance.
2. 8th June :The FTP lost the battle against the SS Division "Das Reich".
The attacks of the Resistance, mainly from the FTP, continued and then on the 8th of June the FTP resistance tried to liberate the town of Tulle, 70 km south of Limoges, from the occupying German garrison. In the battle that followed, the FTP came close to capturing all the German troops of the local garnison, but before they could quite finish the job, that evening Das Reich arrived to the rescue. The SS made short work of the undisciplined and poorly armed Resistance fighters, who were soon in full retreat. They found 40 dead bodies of the German 3rd Battalion/95th Security Regiment local garrison troops near the school, their bodies badly mutilated. Other bodies were found around the town, bringing the total German dead in Tulle to sixty-four.
3. 9th June Reprisals in Tulle
Next day, the reprisals began. The SS general Lammerding ordered that 120 civilians should be executed. The officer Aurel Kowtsch with help of Heinrich Wulf and Walter Schmald will execute this order, while Lammmerding moved allready to Limoges. First the male people will be assembled with the help of the Milice in the court yard of the munition factory to select this 120 man for execution. On demand of the prefect Pierre Trouillé 1400 of the 2000 man where liberated . The selection of 120 man was then made , taking by preference the oldest and unic sons of the families. The executions started in the afternoon. Ropes has to be delivered by the inhabitants of Tulle. They were hung up with the help of the Milice on lamp-posts and from balconies along the "Place de Soulhiac and the nearby streets. The inhabitants were rassembled at the place de Soulhiac to look at this massacre as a warning against further actions from the FTP. 500 of these inhabitants were taken as hostages, from them 250 send to to Dachau. Because, short of ropes only 99 man were executed. The feelings of the population of Tulle were probably divided, about the amateuristic action of the communist FTP who lead to the killing of their compatriots. Till now (2012) this massacre is not mentionned in the touristic brochures of the city.
4. 9th June The Ftp continue to attack the german army, which arrived the 9th of June around Limoges.
What happened in Tulle was a severe warning against the resistance,. Nevertheless the communistic FTP continued the same 9th of june their actions which will lead to a even bigger desastre. The division "Das Reich"had been attacked underway through the FTP and falled in an embuscade near Combeauvert. The 31 resistants ware captured, shot and their bodies overriden with tanks. After that they found on their way to limoges the empty car of Major Kämpfe, who will be killed by the resistance. He was a close friend of Lammerding and Diekmann. A search started immediately to find not only Kämpfe but also arsenals of arms. Nothing was found and it was only in the evening that Karl Gerlach could give somme information. He was captured through the FTP resistance, but could escape and said that a captured SS officer and an arsenal of arms of the resistance were present in the same village, unknowing the name of the village. Although without further information it has been concluded by the Germans and the Milice that the officer was Kämpfe and this village was Oradour-sur-Glane where one should find an arsenal of arms of the resistance. The same day the SS Division "Das Reich" arrived at Limoges, a town famous for its porcelain. In the small town, of St. Julien (30 kilometres north from Limoges) the 'Der Führer Regiment' was regrouping. The commanding officer of the 1st Battalion of this SS Regiment was the thirty-two year old SS Sturmbannführer Adolf Diekmann, a survivor of the Russian front.
5. 10th June. The tragedy at Oradour-sur-Glane.
Just this section of commander Adolf Diekmann (together with Otto Kahn and Heinz Barth) was send to the socalled resistance centre of Oradour-sur-Glane to free the way to Normandy. The soldiers arrived 10th June at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. It has never been cleared out if this was at the beginning an action to kill all the people or just an action taking hostages and under the command of Diekman, under influence of the loosing of his friend Kämpfe, has resulted into a massacre. It has been said that the Diekman asked first for hostages but that the mayor (F: maire, Nl: burgemeester) refused and that the comander Diekman could n't reach his superiors by phone for instructions. Maybe being without further orders this troop with their Russian experience did it on their Russian way. Whatever allmost all the inhabitants were killed, woman and children burned in the church and the men shot down in six barns. It was said that the massacre started with an explosion of muntion in the churrch just behind the altar. Two version are circulating: this explosion was done by the Germans or by the resistance who cached munition in the church and tried to escape with this explosion. We know that only Marguerite Rouffanche could escape through a window behind the altar. As a result of this tragedy the maquis finished their actions and the SS division could without further resistance move to Normandy. But the atrocity of this action was judged exagerated by the German Army and a martial trial was prepared against Adolf Diekmann. In between Adolf Diekmann was send with his division to Normandy, where he was later killed in action in the Normandy battle area on the 29th of June and in the given circonstances no further action for a martial trial was taken.
6. Bordeaux 1953. Trial..
After the war 21 soldiers of the division "Das Reich" were send to trial in Bordeaux in 1953. Seven of them were German soldiers yet in captivity, 14 others came from Elsace and ware living there in liberty. And this was the weak point of the trial: because the people in command, who ordered this action like Diekmann and Lammerding were not present, so the defence argued that the soldiers and certainly the Elsacian soldiers could do nothing to defeat this action in order to be killed themselve. They could be condamned to death. The reaction in Alsace was violent. They said that they were incorporated involuntary in these SS Division, out of their will: "Malgré Nous" as they said. Some were comdamned to death. But we should understand that at that time the politicians were not interested in a broader discussion of this drama which could divise the Elsacian society or criticise the role of the other parties involved like the communist resistance. So the Elsacian soldiers were then shortly after the trial liberated to restore the national unity as was said and the rest was free by 1959.
It's clear that the outcome of this trial has leaved the relatives of the victims unsatisfied. Even the conservation of Oradour as a symbol against this kind of atrocities or the rename of Charly to Charly Oradour in memory of the Lorrain victims could only partly milder the pain they feel.
The official French website for Oradour, it has an English section.
-Ref 1. Centre de la Mémoire.
I took my information mainly from the website of Michael Williams: email@example.com
-Ref 2. Oradour-sur-Glane 10th June 1944
He mentions following interesting links:
the massacre of Oradour-surGlane
A second very important link is the website: "Scrapbookpages.com" :
-Ref 5. http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Oradour-sur-Glane/ : It gives us pictures and the various versions about the tragedy of Oradour-sur-Glane.
- There we find a discussion in relation to the folowing websit, considered as revisionist: -Ref 6. AAARGH website. This site gives a review of the evidence offered at the trial in Bordeaux in 1953. This website says that there were a lot of resistants in Oradour-sur-glane and that with the arrival of the german troops some hided themselves in the church. In attempt to force a breakout they did explose the munition hidden in the church. In the confusion that followed started the tragedy of Oradour-sur-Glane.