Oradour-sur-Glane Sacistry

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 tower.

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.

Main Altar

Exterior of Church

Interior of Church

Doors & Sacistry

Side Altars

Confessional box

Melted Church Bells

Window used to escape