Buildings in Oradour-sur-Glane

The photo above shows the burned-out shells of the buildings in the lower town. The church is behind the camera in this view. On the right is the intersection of the main street with the road to Les Bordes. The oak tree was planted in 1848.

I spent three days in Oradour-sur-Glane in October 2004, photographing the ruins. The weather and the lighting on the ruins changed daily and even hourly, as indicated by the different moods of the photos on this web site. The photo above shows a relatively modern building with a facade constructed out of clay, in a village where most of the buildings are made of granite or brick.

The photo above shows a garage, built out of granite, located on the main street of the village; this photo was taken on a hot afternoon when the weather was like it must have been on the day of the massacre.

Over time, the buildings in the ruins have been washed clean of the smoke from the fire that destroyed the village. The ruins have taken on a softer, romantic look, which was not the intent in preserving the village for future generations. The impact of what happened here does not immediately hit you. The village was already old to begin with, and now 60 years later, it is a ghost town which gives visitors a glimpse of the past but does not convey the horror of the tragedy.

Some people have suggested that the village should have been rebuilt. Many of the houses suffered very little damage, as the photo below shows. It was taken in the Upper Town at the northern end of the main street. The building on the far right in the photo below is the post office which is also relatively undamaged.

Sarah Farmer, in her book "Martyred Village," quotes the following from one of the survivors, Marcel Darthout, who was still alive, as of June 10, 2004:

"I think that the ruins have to be kept...It's necessary. But they are going to evolve. I'm afraid of that. I'm afraid they're changing. On the one hand they're going to fall down, they're going to collapse - or it will be necessary to put in a lot of money to protect them. What they're going to become, I don't know. Will they become in a few years like what one sees at the ruins of a chateau or for that matter a fortress?...Are they going to become like that? I wouldn't want that. That's the goal of the Association, not to forget. That the ruins don't become lifeless. One would like to make them - to make them live again. It's awful."

The photo above shows the church in the new town of Oradour-sur-Glane. This is the front of the church which faces the town; the back of the church faces the Center of Memory and is visible from the ruins. The main street of the new town, which goes past the church, is called "Tenth of June" steet in rembrance of the date of the destruction of the old town.

The Bakery

Old Cars

Doors & Windows

Sewing Machines