In 2011, my wife and I visited Oradour-sur-Glane in France. It has a small but nice museum through which you must travel in order to see the burned out village. While volunteering at our local library, I recently “discovered” a book about the village. Another book, Oradour by Robin Mackness, was also recommended. I decided to read this first, as it seemed more accessible.I was not disappointed. It’s nonfiction that reads like a spy vs spy novel.
Why was this seemingly innocent village of Oradour-sur-Glane destroyed four days after the invasion of France in June 1944? Apparently this was a village that had been untouched by WWII and virtually unvisited by German troops during the War. This town was no hotbed of Resistance activity. Why kill nearly 650 citizens who had done nothing wrong except to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Mackness tells a tale of two different periods in France, 1944 and 1982-4, that are equally scary for diverse reasons. In both instances, gold was the main instigator. Isn’t it always? Names were changed by the author to protect his sources from retribution by French authorities. I believe Mackness’ theory, as outlandish as it may seem. My advice is to read the book and form your own opinion. And go visit the museum and village.
GO! BUY! READ!
—Jim Harris, retired book sales rep
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