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The Oradour-sur-Glane massacre

Today (10th June) is the anniversary of the massacre by German forces of inhabitants of the village of Oradour-sur-Glane. Here is a text and questions about the event.

Le massacre d’Oradour-sur-Glane


En février 1944, la 2e division Panzer SS "Das Reich" est stationnée dans la ville de Valence-d'Agen au nord de Toulouse, en attendant d'être ravitaillée en matériel neuf et en troupes fraîches. Après l'invasion de la Normandie en juin 1944, la division, commandée par Adolf Diekmann, reçoit l'ordre d'arrêter l'avance des Alliés vers le nord. L'une de ses unités était le 4e Régiment de Grenadiers Panzer SS ("Der Führer"). 


Tôt le matin du 10 juin 1944 Diekmann apprend qu'un officier de Waffen-SS était retenu prisonnier par la Résistance à Oradour-sur-Vayres, un village voisin. L'officier capturé serait le SS-Sturmbannführer Helmut Kämpfe, commandant du 2e Bataillon de reconnaissance des Panzer SS (également de la division "Das Reich"). Il a peut-être été capturé par le Maquis du Limousin la veille.


Le 10 juin, le bataillon de Diekmann boucle Oradour-sur-Glane et ordonne à tous les habitants de se rassembler sur la place du village pour faire examiner leurs papiers d'identité. Cela comprenait six non-résidents qui faisaient de la bicyclette dans la ville à l'arrivée de l'unité SS. Les femmes et les enfants sontenfermées dans l'église et le village est pillé. Les hommes sont conduits dans six granges et hangars, où des mitrailleuses sont déjà en place.


Selon le récit d'un survivant, les hommes SS ont alors commencé à tirer, visant leurs jambes. Lorsque les victimes étaient incapables de se déplacer, les SS les ont recouverts de carburant et ont incendié les granges. Seuls six hommes ont réussi à s'échapper. L'un d'eux a été vu plus tard en train de marcher sur une route et a été abattu. 


Les SS se sont ensuite dirigés vers l'église et ont placé un dispositif incendiaire. Lorsqu'il s'est enflammé, des femmes et des enfants ont tenté de s'échapper par les portes et les fenêtres, mais ils ont été confrontés à des tirs de mitrailleuses. 247 femmes et 205 enfants sont morts dans l'attaque. La seule survivante était Marguerite Rouffanche, 47 ans. Elle s'est échappée par une fenêtre arrière de la sacristie, suivie d'une jeune femme et d'un enfant. On a tiré sur tous les trois, mais seule Mme Rouffanche a survécu. Elle s’est enfuie et est restée cachée toute la nuit jusqu'à ce qu'elle soit retrouvée et secourue le lendemain matin. Une vingtaine de villageois avaient fui Oradour-sur-Glane en voyant l’arrivée de l'unité SS. Cette nuit-là, le village a été partiellement rasé.


Quelques jours plus tard, les survivants ont été autorisés à enterrer les 642 habitants d'Oradour-sur-Glane qui avaient été tués en quelques heures seulement. Adolf Diekmann a dit que l'atrocité était en représailles de l'activité partisane à Tulle et de l'enlèvement du commandant SS, Helmut Kämpfe.


Raymond J. Murphy, un navigateur américain B-17 de 20 ans, abattu au-dessus d'Avord, en France, fin avril 1944, a été témoin des conséquences du massacre.Après avoir été caché par la Résistance française, Murphy a été envoyé en Angleterre le 6 août, et lors du débriefing, a rempli un questionnaire qui a fait partie d'un rapport officiel. Ce rapport contient un addendum manuscrit :

Il y a environ 3 semaines, j'ai vu une ville à 4 heures de vélo de la ferme de Gerbeau [du chef de la Résistance Camille Gerbeau] où quelque 500 hommes, femmes et enfants avaient été tués par les Allemands. J'ai vu un bébé qui avait été crucifié. 

 

 

Answer the questions 


1.What do we learn about the 2nd SS Panzer Division "Das Reich"?


2.What appears to be the initial motive for the massacre?


3.Summarise the third paragraph.

4.What happened to one survivor? 


5.What did the SS then do

6.Explain what happened to Marguerite Rouffanche?

7.What happened that night?


8.What happened a few days later?


9.Who was Raymond J. Murphy?

10.      Translate what he wrote. 



 


Answers

1.Stationed in Valence d’Agen. Got the order to go north to lend support against   the allied invasion. Was awaiting fresh equipment and troops. Adolf Diekmann was in charge of one of its units.

2.Waffen SS officer was being held prisoner by the Resistance in a nearby village.

3.Diekmann’s battalion surrounds Oradour, orders the villagers to assemble on the village square to check their IDs. Among these were six people passing through the village on their bikes. Women and children were locked in the church, men is barns and sheds where machine guns were already set up.

4.Shot as he was walking along a road.

5.Went to the church and prepared to set fire to it.

6.She escaped through a window with two others, but only she survived. She fled, hid for the night, was rescued the next day.

7.The village was partially burned down.

8.Permission was given to bury the 642 victims. 

9.An American pilot who had been shot down and hidden by the resistance.  He sawthe results of the massacre and filed a report.

10.About 3 weeks ago, I saw a town within 4 hours bicycle ride up the Gerbeau farm [of Resistance leader Camille Gerbeau] where some 500 men, women, and children had been murdered by the Germans. I saw one baby who had been crucified.

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