The French village of Oradour-sur-Glane, France, was destroyed by the Nazis — and remains destroyed to this day.
On June 10, 1944, the 4th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment’s 1st Battalion, led by Adolf Diekmann, sealed off the commune, rounded up the citizens and murdered all but several who managed to escape. In all, 196 men, 247 women, and 205 children were shot dead or burned alive.
“Down this road, on a summer day in 1944…The soldiers came. Nobody lives here now. They stayed only a few hours. When they had gone, the community which had lived for a thousand years…was dead.” (Introductory script to the 1974 British documentary series The World at War.)
Military tribunals held in the early 50′s convicted 20 of the 200 soldiers taking part in the massacre. Nineteen served an average of about five years while one served fourteen years before being released. Diekmann was killed in the battle of Normandy.
Oradour is in the west-central area of France. It remains today much as it was left in 1944. The French built a memorial museum near the entrance to the village ruins. Kudos to the French for this singular act of reverence, of outrage, and of remembrance.
If you visit France (or live there), Oradour-sur-Glane is a must. It is an eerie, ghostly place that is fodder for the photographer but, more importantly, it is a memorial. At the village entrance is a hand painted sign: “REMEMBER”
About the photo: I shot it at 1/250 and f/8.0. In post processing in Lightroom I converted to black and white and then ran the green slider up until I was satisfied with the ghostly effect of the tree.