The small village of Oradour-sur-Glane, France, is the setting of unspeakable horror. During World War II, residents were massacred by German soldiers as punishment for the French Resistance. The Germans had initially intended to target nearby Oradour-sur-Vayres and mistakenly invaded Oradour-sur-Glane.
There are only theories on why on June 10, 1944, Sturmbannführer Adolf Diekmann, the 2nd Waffen SS Panzer Division Das Reich, 1st Battalion’s commander decided to order his troops to go house to house through the little village, corralling all occupants, whether they be men, women or children, into the town square. The Germans were brutally careful that no one received less than a fatal bullet.The buildings, with their 642 murdered occupants, were then burned. After the liberation of France, General Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French Forces during the war (and later President of France), saw the desecrated little town and heard its story from the handful of survivors who had managed to flee the town during the round-up. Right then he declared that the town should remain exactly as it was, as a reminder of the barbarity of war.