The photo above shows the front of the
old church. On the left side, there is an open doorway, with
no door, which is the entrance into the sacistry, or the vestry.
This is the room that once contained the ceremonial clothing
of the priests, called the vestments. The main door into the
church is on the right, up the steps that are underneath the
The photo below shows the interior of
the church with the sacristry door on the left. This is the door
through which the priest entered the church to say Mass at the
main altar, which is shown in the photo.
Madame Marguerite Rouffanche, the only
survivor from the church, said that SS soldiers entered the church
through the front door, and placed a "smoke bomb" near
the choir, which was in the back of the church. She testified
that the women and children rushed to the front of the church
and tried to escape through the sacistry door. The door was broken
open and some of the women entered the sacristy, but were gunned
down by SS soldiers who were standing guard outside. Madame Rouffanche
said that she sat on the steps inside the sacistry. The door
to the sacristry has been replaced with a wooden door that has
been nailed shut. The photo below shows the other side of the
sacristy door; this photo was taken from inside the sacristy.
The photo below shows the inside of the
sacristy. The original door, which probably burned in the fire,
has not been replaced, but you can still see the enormous hook
that once fastened this door from the inside. The room is filled
with rubble and the steps where Madame Rouffanche sat are no
longer there. Through the doorway you can see the courtyard of
the church, which is shown in the photo at the top of this page.
The Sacistry was an unfamiliar place
to the women in the village. In those days, women were not allowed
to go beyond the communion rail, unless they were cleaning the
church. They were not allowed near the main altar unless they
were placing flowers there or decorating the church. The Sacistry
was a private room that only the priests and the altar boys entered;
it was off limits to women.