Today’s excursion to a township razed to the the ground by the Nazis was not one I was looking forward to. On the bus, if we were already a quiet mob, the mood turned extremely sombre as we watched a dvd about what happened that fateful day in Oradour-sur-Glane.
Yes I have been putting off writing about this day’s excursion. The impact of what happened in Oradour was heartbreaking and as many of you already know, for me, stories of Nazi Germany are akin to what we in Australia are currently doing to those we have imprisoned on Manus and Nauru Islands. Thinking about tha, I feel extremely angry and utterly helpless because we continue to leave these people to rot away in a living hell.
Oradour is a village that the Nazi German soldiers surrounded and called for everyone do congregate in the town square. Once there, the women and children were separated from the men. The men were taken to a shed under the guise that the German soldiers believed there to be a stash of weapons to be found. After a time, the men were circled, shot and then the shed was burnt to the ground. If I remember rightly, 3-5 were able to escape before the fine was lit and in this DVD two of the survivors spoke of what happened that day. The women and children were set alight in the village church. Around 640+ people were murdered that day and the entire village was burnt and destroyed that day. While these were not the only people to be murdered like this or villages destroyed, it was decided that due atrocities of this day would be remembered in an attempt to ensure that history never repeats itself. Today the villiage remainscan be accessed once visitors have been through the museum that is used as an entrance. Today’s residential township of Oradour is built next to the village.
As we arrived, having watched the video, I wanted to visit the oilliage out of respect for the two men’s stories and to honour the way the lived their lives serving the memory of those who lost their lives that day. When I walked into the museum, there was aperture of a massive swastika and I knew I had to leave. As I left the building l ran into Anne and she was having a similar response and together we decided to walk to the line village and have a cuppa. As we walked and talked I began to cry. Not so much in sorrow but out of heartbreak for the cruelty we are capable of meting out to others and in anger at the inability ‘remembering’ and ‘commenting’ has to put a halt to such atrocities being repeated today. The German people were often asked how could they at someone like Hitler rise to power? How can we as Australians stand by and permit such atrocities as Manus Island and Nauru to continue in our name? How can we blindly elect governments who promote policies that perpetuate such practices?
Eventually, Anne and I found a lovely spot to sit and chat and then we went for a walk through the residential village. By the way, during our walk, Anne and I discovered a lovely display in the local hairdressing salon! What do you think Leanne?
It was a beautiful morning and I believe for the others they enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about WWII.
After that we headed off to Orleans. I tell you what, you neatly do know you are not in Australia when you arrive at a massive servo and there is not a takeaway franchise in site! The places that are available are all serving fabulously delicious food.
When we arrived in Orleans, offer checking in David took us down the street to see the statue of Jeanne d’Arc and then led us to the cathedral.
After that we had the nest of the evening to ourselves and I managed to do some window shopping and have dinner. When I returned to the hotel, Shirleen was sitting in the foyer and so we both popped into the bar and enjoyed a glass of Champagne- Verve Cliquot Rose! It was a lovely way to finish the evening!
After that it was bed! And what a room it was!
I almost forgot to mention we were right on the river front. It was just beautiful.