The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Thursday, October 23, 2014


French, German leaders to make landmark visit to WWII massacre site
View on August 30, 2013 shows the martyr village of Oradour-sur-Glane, central France, where 642 citizens including 500 women and children were killed locked up in a church intentionally set on fire by a SS division on June 10, 1944. German President Gauck will be the first German president to visit Oradour-sur-Glane in September 2013, where a Nazi massacre in June 1944 wiped out almost the whole village. AFP PHOTO / THIERRY ZOCCOLAN.
ORADOUR-SUR-GLANE (AFP).- French President Francois Hollande and German counterpart Joachim Gauck will make a historic visit on Wednesday to a ghost village in west-central France where 642 people were massacred by Nazi soldiers in one of the worst atrocities during World War II.

Gauck is the first German leader to visit Oradour-sur-Glane, where ruins from the war have been preserved as a memorial to the dead. They include a church where women and children were locked in, before toxic gas was released and the building set on fire.

Some 205 children aged under 15 were among victims of the June 10, 1944 atrocity which left deep scars in France.

After the war, French General Charles de Gaulle, who later became president, decided that the village should not be rebuilt but remain a memorial to the barbarity of Nazi occupation. A new village was built nearby.

In 1999, French president Jacques Chirac dedicated a memorial museum which includes items recovered from what became known as the 'Village of Martyrs'.

They include watches stopped at the time the owners were burnt alive, glasses melted from intense heat and other personal items.

Wednesday's highly symbolic visit follows a 1984 commemoration when then French president Francois Mitterrand and former German chancellor Helmut Kohl attended a memorial service for fallen soldiers at Verdun.

The Battle of Verdun (February-December 1916) claimed the lives of more than 700,000 soldiers and came to symbolise the horror of war for both the Germans and the French.

As they stood in front of the Douaumont Ossuary, which contains the remains of 130,000 fallen soldiers, Mitterrand and Kohl joined hands - a gesture of friendship marking the lessons learned from a frightful past.

But the scars run deep in Oradour where an association of families of the martyrs had thus far opposed any visit by a German leader.

The two presidents are due to visit the village square where the residents were rounded up by German soldiers ostensibly to have their identity papers checked. The women and children were then locked up in the church while the men were taken to a barn where machine guns awaited.

The two presidents will be accompanied by two of the three living survivors -- Robert Hebras, 88 and Jean-Marcel Darthout.

Hebras, who was 19 at the time of the massacre, survived as he was buried under the corpses of others who were machine-gunned.

"I was consumed by hatred and vengeance for a long time," he said, adding that Gauck's visit came at an opportune time.

"Any earlier would have been too soon," he said, adding: "We must reconcile with the Germans."

Germany in 2010 reopened a war crimes case into the attack when a historian discovered documents implicating six suspects in their 80s.

The suspects, aged 18 and 19 at the time, allegedly ordered the inhabitants to assemble in the village square.

Prosecutors eventually identified 12 members of the regiment who were still alive after trawling through files of the Stasi secret police in the former communist East that came to light after German reunification in 1990.

"A case has been opened against seven of them," Ulrich Schepers, of the public prosecutor's office in the western city of Dortmund, told AFP. The other five have already served sentences in France.

German prosecutors travelled to Oradour and Bordeaux in January and took witness statements from 11 survivors, consulted archives and questioned three French former soldiers involved.

They expect a decision on whether a case will go to court from as early as the end of this year.

Gauck, a former East German human rights activist, has already paid two visits to the sites of Nazi mass killings in Europe; the Czech village of Lidice near Prague in 2012 and the Italian hamlet of Sant'Anna di Stazzema in March this year.



© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse





Today's News

September 2, 2013

Northern Mannerist prints from the Kainen Collection presented at National Gallery of Art

Politician says the Doge's Palace in Venice damaged by French demand over Manet exhibition

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston presents 12 women photographers from Iran and the Arab world in exhibition

First selling exhibition of Buddhist art at Sotheby's in more than a decade announced

"Art for Art's Sake: Selections from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation" opens in Malibu

Katie Paterson's Second Moon goes into orbit for one year as part of the British Science Festival 2013

International Munch conference in Oslo includes about 100 Munch researchers

New York Academy of Art 2013 Fellows exhibition featuring Jonathan Beer, Aleah Chapin and Nicolas Holiber

Exhibition pairs iconic rock 'n roll images, with legendary figures in boxing and wrestling

Groundbreaking Becoming Patsy Cline exhibition opens at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley

Hours extended for final two days of Georgia O'Keeffe exhibition at the Hyde Collection

Museum of London challenges master perfumer Roja Dove to rediscover the fragrance of Jacobean England

Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt opens three outdoor walk-in installations by Hélio Oiticica

Sotheby's celebrates 40 years in Asia with "40 Days / 40 Stories" video series

Kate Downie exhibits at The Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture

Alliance of black art galleries established in St. Louis, Missouri

French, German leaders to make landmark visit to WWII massacre site

Lines of Liminality: Works by Susan Schwalb and Clifford Smith on view at Gerald Peters Gallery

Custom '07 Stryker Mustang to be auctioned for charity at Mecum Dallas

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Image of a Christ without a beard, short hair and wearing a toga unearthed in Spain

2.- Giant mosaic unearthed in mysterious tomb in Amphipolis in northern Macedonia

3.- Bonhams sale of 18th century French decorative arts to benefit Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

4.- Paris flustered by erection of 'sex-toy' sculpture; Paul McCarthy slapped by a passer-by

5.- High art or vile pornography? Marquis de Sade explored in Orsay museum exhibition

6.- 'Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection' opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

7.- Greek culture minister says Elgin Marbles return a matter of 'global heritage'

8.- Vandals deflate Paris 'sex-toy' sculpture by American artist Paul McCarthy after outrage

9.- Exhibition at National Gallery in London explores Rembrandt's final years of painting

10.- 'Hans Memling: A Flemish Renaissance' opens at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site