Salle d'exposition. Source : Centre de la mémoire d'Oradour
This project to build a museum on the site, of the martyr village which began in 1992 under the auspices of the council of the French department of Haute-Vienne, was completed on 12 May 1999, after which it opened its doors to the public and became the new access route to the ruins of Oradour-sur-Glane.
On 8 June 1944, two days after the Normandy landings, the 2nd German armoured tank division, "Das Reich", received orders to position itself between Tulle and Limoges. The "Der Führer" regiment was put in charge of "cleansing" this sector since German troops had been confronted by a series of actions organised by local members of the French Resistance. On 10 June 1944, the market town of Oradour-sur-Glane, which lies 22 kilometres north-west of Limoges, was surrounded by Waffen SS troops. The inhabitants of the village and surrounding areas, who had met in the town for the weekly fair held there each Saturday, were rounded up into the main plaza and systematically slaughtered: women and children were locked inside the church and burned alive, while men were machine-gunned down in various parts of the village. Soldiers went into streets and houses, killing at random so as to eliminate any witnesses, and tried to dispose of the corpses by setting fire to them or throwing them into a mass grave to prevent identification. By the time the troops have finished pillaging and burning the village, they left behind them a death toll of 642, plus a handful of survivors, witnesses to the tragedy.
On 4 March 1945, General De Gaulle, the head of the provisional government of the French Republic, made the journey to Oradour and declared the site a martyr village. It became property of the French government in April 1945. A law declared the site a historical monument on 10 May 1946. A decision was made to protect the ruins and to build a new market town next to the former village. In the late 1980s, the idea was born to build a memorial centre to explain, for educational purposes, the significance of the event and the ruins to generations not familiar with the horrors of war.
Construction of this centre began in 1992 under the auspices of the council of the French department of Haute-Vienne and the work was completed on 12 May 1999, after which the centre opened its doors to the public and became the new access route to the ruins of Oradour-sur-Glane. Inside a building whose architecture is testimony to the tormented history of the site, there is a permanent exhibition containing a number of archival documents that lead the visitor down a pathway, enabling them to situate the tragedy in the context of World War II. Why Oradour? In order to answer this question, the memorial centre sets out to simultaneously present the peaceful market town that was Oradour from the pre-war period until the tragic events of 10 June 1944 and the increase in the barbarity of the Nazis, in particular by the "Das Reich" division of the Waffen SS. An account of the massacre is given in a rolling 12-minute film. The film draws on eyewitness accounts from survivors and statements made by executioners put on trial in Bordeaux in 1953.
Aw well as temporary exhibitions and a documentation centre, the Centre provides an education team to help teachers who wish to organise a visit to the site as part of an educational project. Led by two history professors, the team prepares for the arrival of classes and offers teachers access to the Centre's structures and documentation. Apart from being a symbol of a France wounded by the German occupation, an integral part of the national memory, the Memorial Centre has a universal message, prompting the visitor to reflect on the defence of human rights and peace.
Centre de la Mémoire B.P. 12 87520 Oradour-sur-Glane Tel: 33/ (0) 555 430 430 Fax: 33/ (0) 555 430 431 Website: http://www.oradour.org
Open every day 9 :00 to 17 :00 in February, November and 1-16 December 9 :00 to 18 :00 in March, April, 1-15 May, 15-30 September, October 9 :00 to 19 :00 from 15 May - 15 September Please note: entry to the centre and village closes one hour before stated closing times. Prices Free for children under 8 Non-guided visit: €6 Concession: €4 (students, job-seekers, visitors 8 -18 years of age, war veterans) Family visit (2 adults, 3 children): €16 Youth groups: €2 per person Groups: €4.50 per person for groups of 20 or more (non-guided visits) Guided tours: €6.50 (call 33/ (0)5 55 430 430 for bookings) Coach and car parking facilities, disabled access. Access to the martyr village of Oradour-sur-Glane is free. The village can only be accessed via the memorial centre.
0 555 430 430
Exposition permanente : Tarif individuel : 7.70 € Forfait famille (2 adultes + 2 enfants ou plus) : 22 € Tarif réduit : 5.20 € Exposition temporaire : 2 € Gratuit pour les moins de 10 ans, demandeurs d’emploi, non voyants, handicapés mentaux, journalistes, membres ICOM, chauffeurs de bus
ouvert 7j/ 7 du 1er février au 15 décembre inclus. Du 1er février au 28 février : de 9h à 17h Du 1er mars au 15 mai : de 9h à 18h Du 16 mai au 15 septembre : de 9h à 19h Du 16 septembre au 31 octobre : de 9h à 18h Du 1er novembre au 15 décembre : de 9h à 17h
Du 16 décembre au 31 janvier inclus