Oradour-sur-Glane Church windows

Madame Marguerite Rouffanche, the lone survivor of the massacre of the women and children in the Oradour-sur-Glane church, escaped by leaping from the middle window behind the main altar. The photo above shows the window. The window had already been broken before she climbed up to it. The photo below shows the three windows behind the main altar.

Madame Rouffance said that she picked the middle window for her leap to freedom because it was wider than the other two; her photo shows that Madame Rouffanche was not skinny. The height of the straight part of the wall under the middle window is around six feet; there is a narrow ledge at the top of the straight section and then it is about three feet up the slanted section of the wall to the bottom edge of the window.

The photo below shows the slanted section of the wall under the window. Notice the narrow ledge, shown at the bottom of the photo. Madame Rouffance was able to get up to the ledge by using a stool placed under the window. From there, it was easy to climb up the rest of the way. After the massacre, the Bishop's Report stated that the bodies of 15 to 20 children were found behind the altar, under the window where Madame Rouffanche had jumped.

Madame Rouffance testified that she did not climb up to the window until after the church was set on fire by the SS soldiers. By this time, most of the women in the church were already dead. She had survived the gas bomb that was set off in the church and the shots fired into the sacistry, as well as the grenades tossed through the doors and windows and she had not been wounded by the hundreds of shots fired inside the church. Hiding behind a cloud of smoke, she went behind the altar and found a stool that was used to light the candles.

The bars which are on the window today were not there when Madame Rouffanche made the leap from the window, according to a staff member at the Center of Memory. The photo above shows the plaque on the wall, designating this spot as the place where Madame Rouffance made her escape. The photo below shows the exterior of the church; Madame Rouffanche jumped from the center window in the row of three windows.

According to a staff member at the Center of Memory, Madame Rouffanche was not injured when she jumped from the window because shrubbery near the building broke her fall. This might also have prevented her from rolling off the ledge, since the ground under the window slants down to a retaining wall which is about 10 feet high. Today this area has been closed off and there is no access to the spot where she landed after leaping from the window.

The bodies of 23-year-old Henriette Joyeaux and her 7-month-old son, Rene, were identified after they were found buried near the church. According to Madame Rouffance, another woman climbed up to the window and called out to her to catch her baby which she then threw out the window. The baby fell to the ground and began crying, which alerted soldiers nearby, and they began shooting. Madame Joyeaux and her baby were both killed. Madame Joyeaux was from Soudanas, part of the commune of Panazol; her maiden name was Hyvernaud. In her story, Madame Rouffanche referred to the other woman as Madame Hyvernaud. Madame Germaine-Marie Hyvernaud, a resident of Oradour-sur-Glane and probably one of her relatives, was also among the 52 victims whose remains were identified.


Exterior of Church

Interior of Church

Doors & Sacistry

Main Altar

Side Altars

Confessional Box

Melted Church Bells