In France, ghosts of World War II are still very much alivetags: World War II, France
When President Barack Obama joins other heads of state in France to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day on June 6, attention will focus on the Allied offensive’s main landing site, the beaches of Normandy.
But on a continent that saw a generation slaughtered in combat and millions more perish in the concentration camps of Poland and Germany, there are many other poignant reminders of World War II.
In this small town in the Limousin region more than 300 miles south of Omaha Beach, people will gather to remember the worst Nazi atrocity on French soil.
Although what happened here didn’t change the course of the war like the American arrival at Normandy, it’s important for how the war is remembered today.
Three days after D-Day on June 9, 1944, an armed Waffen SS infantry unit from Hitler’s brutal Das Reich regiment rounded up this town’s entire population in an act of revenge for the alleged kidnapping of a Nazi commander by the French Resistance.
The men were massacred with machine guns before their bodies, some still alive, were covered in hay and incinerated. Women and children who sought refuge in the church were locked in and the building set alight. Of the 500 people inside, only one child survived.
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