Old cars in the ruins at Oradour-sur-Glane
Of particular interest are the old cars
that can be seen in the ruins of Oradour-sur-Glane. The most
famous one is the car, shown in the photo above, that belonged
to Dr. Jacques Desourteaux, the doctor who arrived back in the
village just as the villagers were being assembled on the Fairgrounds.
He had been visiting a patient in a nearby hamlet. His car is
shown in the photo above with the ruined buildings of the Fairgrounds
in the background. The car is just a burned-out empty shell:
everything in the interior is gone except the steering wheel.
The roof of the car is gone, but the luggage rack is still intact.
Notice the bricks placed under the car
to keep it from sinking into the ground. According to Sarah Farmer,
in her book "Martyred Village," an effort was made
in 1992 to preserve this old car. Restoration experts dismantled
the car, sanded the body, painted the interior with tar to prevent
further decay and waxed the outside to repel moisture. Photos
taken before 1992 show the car being a beautiful rust color,
but now it is more of a brown color.
The photo below shows the same old car
with a building on the side of the Fairgrounds in the background.
This photo was taken with a telephoto lens, which makes the car
look closer to the building than it really is. A similar photo
is shown on the cover of a video that I purchased in the bookshop
of the Center of Memory, except that the direction of the car
in the video photo is reversed.
According to Sarah Farmer's book, the
car on the Fairgrounds, shown in the three photos above, is not
the car of Dr. Jacques Desourteaux. Sarah Farmer wrote the following
regarding the car:
"When Dr. Desourteaux arrived at
the entrance to the town, soldiers forced him to drive up the
main street and stop across from the marketplace, where he joined
the assembled townspeople. He died with the others that afternoon.
A few weeks later, the doctor's brother and his nephew moved
the Desourteaux car to the family property, where it still lies
inside the garden wall. The car on the marketplace actually belonged
to the wine merchant."
The doctor's brother was Hubert Desourteaux
and his nephew was Andre Desourteaux.
Not many cars were made during World
War II, neither in America, nor in Europe. The automobile factories
were busy making tanks and jeeps. The car at the entrance to
the Fairgrounds looks like a model made in the late 1930ies.
The photo below shows the ruins of another
old car that looks like one that was made in the early 1930ies
or late 1920ies. This car is located in one of the killing sites,
the garage on Rue de Emile Desourteaux that belonged to Hubert
The photo below was taken on the road
up to the cemetery. The location of this car is near the intersection
of the Fairgrounds road and the cemetery road, close to the Laudy
According to the book "Martyred
Village," the cars of well-to-do residents of Limoges were
stored in Oradour-sur-Glane to hide them from the Germans during
the occupation. The photo above shows a large number of cars
in the ruins of a building behind the church.