June 6, 1944: Souviens-Toi

US GIs Marching to the Docks June 1944

70 years ago today, thousands of Allied men crossed the English Channel to land on the beaches of Normandy to help defeat European fascism. 

Anyone with a passing general knowledge of history knows about D-Day and its significance – the war was over less than a year later. This montage of then-and-now images published by the Guardian is simply incredible

Less well-known in the US is the fate of the French town of Oradour-sur-Glane. On June 10, 1944, the town was under the control of Vichy France.  That day, a German Panzer division massacred 642 men, women, and children – most of them shot and then burned alive in the town church – for no known reason. It’s suspected that the massacre was in retaliation for the killing of some German soldiers in the area (possibly in another town also named “Oradour”) by the French resistance. 

The French government left the town as it stood on that day. It is a monument to the relentlessly brutal German occupation, and to the innocent victims of Naziism. 

A Peugeot allegedly belonging to the town doctor stands where it was parked as the doctor arrived back to town from a house call just as the round-up of villagers began. 

Via Wikipedia

Here, two visitors walk through the ruins of the village, where time stood still. 

Via Wikipedia

 

Via Oradour.info