Do you remember?
Translation: “Here a group of men were massacred and burned by the Nazis. Do you remember?”
On June 10, 1944, everyone in this French village, 642 men, women and children, were massacred by a German Waffen-SS company. Rather than rebuilding the town after the war, the French government decided to leave things as a memorial to the martyrs. It was such an emotional experience just walking through the entrance and seeing photos of what happened that day and pictures of children who are now gone. Outside there was a whole town with a burned out bike, a stove, sewing machines, a melted church bell, what was left of a café, a bakery, a garage and many homes. This was a place where real people sewed and cooked and played and worked and had families. It hit home.
I didn’t think I could take pictures there, but I picked up my camera anyway, just to have something else to think about. Putting these photos together for this was hard because I remembered. And it felt important. They are here only as a humble tribute and out of respect for the martyrs of Oradour and for those who have suffered war in their home countries. I came away from the experience with a deeper understanding than the kinds of memorials I’ve seen in this country, memorials of brick and mortar and eternal flames. I feel blessed, too, that in my lifetime, I haven’t had the machines of war in my own back yard.Here is more information about Oradour.