Destroyed Oradour Church

The photo above shows the interior of the church in Oradour-sur-Glane after it was destroyed by a fire set by Waffen-SS soldiers on June 10, 1944. The main altar can be seen in the center of the photo, below the three windows. The left side of the top of the altar has been broken off. The debris in front of the altar appears to be part of the roof. According to the Official Report, the vault of the nave was still in place the day after the fire, but collapsed some time later. This photo is on the cover of a French documentary book entitled "Oradour," which was published in 1944.

The photo above was scanned from a book entitled "Oradour-sur-Glane, the Tragedy Hour by Hour," written by Robert Hebras, one of the survivors. It shows the transept on the left side of the church as you face the altar from the back of the church. In this photo, the roof over the main part of the church has not yet collapsed.

On the left side of the photo above is a woman standing with her back to the front door into the church. Behind the first arch on the left side of the photo is where the confessional box is located. On the right side of the photo, you can see the communion railing which divides the section of the church where the main altar is located from the main part of the church where the pews were located. In this photo, all the wooden pews in the church are gone; they were probably consumed by the fire in the church, although the wooden confessional did not burn. Note the statue in the upper right hand corner of the photo; the top of the statue has been blown off.

The photo below shows the exterior shell of the church after it was destroyed by fire. The tall steeple that once topped the tower on the right side was burned when the intense fire in the church spread upward. This photo was taken in September 1944. Note the plaque behind the cross in the front of the church; it was placed there in 1944 in honor of the women and children who were burned alive when the SS soldiers set fire to the church. On the lower right of the photo below, is the roof over the market hall which collapsed, but did not burn. This roof has since been removed and only the stone wall behind it remains.



SS officers



Back to Old Photos index