Exterior of Oradour-sur-Glane Church

The photo above shows the exterior of the church. The small building on the right is the house where people that were hiding heard bombs detonating and women and children screaming in terror. The steps in the lower right corner are what is left of the market hall. To the right, but out of camera range, is the Milord barn where Madame Lang heard the machine-gun fire when the men were killed.

The old church in Oradour-sur-Glane is the site of one of the worst atrocities committed by the German Waffen-SS army in World War II. It was here that 245 women and 207 children, the youngest only a week old, were ruthlessly murdered by young soldiers, a third of whom were Frenchmen from Alsace who had been drafted into the German Army after the defeat of France in 1940.

Today, the church is only an empty shell with no roof. The steeple, that once topped the tower, burned when the Waffen-SS soldiers set fire to the church, burning alive some of the victims. The photo above shows the front entrance to the church, which faces east.

The photo above shows an iron cross in a corner of the church, just inside the front door.

The next two photos below show the back side of the church tower. The church was built in the 15th century and the tower was added in the 16th century. Oradour-sur-Glane was a spot at a crossroads in the days when the territory that is now France was part of the Roman Empire. A "lantern for the dead" in the cemetery dates back to Roman times. A staff member at the Center of Memory told me that the church was first built in the 12th century.

The photo below shows the metal cross on the wall of the front of the church. The English translation of the sign behind it reads: "Silence. The hundreds of women and children here were massacred by the Nazis. You that pass collect yourselves and who that believe make a prayer for the victims and their families. In the town remaining in lonely ruins outside the Cross of Christ. Bernadette our Lady of Lourdes. Come to me you that suffer says the Christ, do that he tells you says the Virgin. Requiescat in pace. That they rest in peace. Because they are living in eternity."

The exterior view of the church in the photo below shows the front door on the right side, beneath the rectangular part of the tower. In the lower right hand corner is the spot where the open air market once stood, covered by a roof that collapsed. Notice the open drainage ditch leading down from the church steps to the street below.

The second photo below shows the new church in the new town of Oradour-sur-Glane, which is a modern replica of the old church. Notice the similarity in the design of the two churches.


The new church is approximately the same size and has the same interior layout as the old church. It is located on a hill at the southern entrance to the new town of Oradour-sur-Glane. Some writers are critical of the design of the new church, but to me, this classic design is beautiful. Personally, I like the old church better without the steeple.

Interior of the Church

Doors & Sacistry

Main Altar

Side Altars

Confessional box

Melted Church Bells

Window used to escape