There appears to be a new chapter in my story One Day In Oradour. The people of Oradour-sur-Glane may yet get some justice. At the end of 2011, the German police raided the homes of six men, all in their late 80s and all known to have belonged to the 3rd Company of the 1st Battalion of the Fuhrer in the SS Das Reich division, which carried out the atrocities in the village on 10th June 1944.
Until this week, no names had been released but it was made clear that none of the men had stand trial at Bordeaux in 1953. During the raids, the police searched for wartime documents, photographs, diaries and any other evidence which might prove the role that these men played in the massacre. We were told that all of the men arrested were low-ranking officers and that two denied taking part in the murders, while the other four declared themselves unfit to be questioned. Charges have now been brought against the first of those six men, who has been named as the 88-year-old Werner C and who, it is said, was 19 at the time.
The regional court in Cologne has said: “The prosecutor’s office in Dortmund has charged an 88-year-old from Cologne over the murder of 25 people committed by a group, and with aiding and abetting the murder of several hundred people.”Werner C is still denying any involvement in the killings, and it remains to be seen whether or not there is sufficient evidence to secure a successful prosecution. However, with so much confusion in the immediate aftermath of the massacre, and so few eye witnesses alive to tell us what really happened, it would appear that the chances are slim.
You can read more about this story on the BBC website.