Tulle, 9 June and Oradour-sur-Glain (Oradour-sur-Glane) 10 June 1944, France. Who has never heard of the French village of Oradur? This is one of the most famous examples of Nazi crimes! But most of the Russian readers, most likely, have never heard about the Tulle settlement. And those who studied history in the former USSR certainly didn’t hear about Tulle. Everything has its own reasons and I will tell about them later. Now let's get in order.
If we consider these two episodes independently of each other, this will not give a complete picture of what happened. Tulle and Oradour-sur-Glaine are located 110-kilometers from each other. They were both in the area of the X-NUMX SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment "Der Führer", commanded by Colonel SS Sylvester Stadler. The regiment was part of the 4 PG of the SS division "Das Reich" under the command of SS Major General Heinz Lammerding. After the landing of the Allies in Normandy, the so-called "maquis", French partisans, who can be called the juicy word "gangs", became more active in this region of France. You will soon see why. In Wikipedia, I read a short article describing their field life: they ate fruit, wild berries, very rarely hunted. Have a healthy lifestyle, in general. Well, sheer emotion! Among them were not only the French. There were many citizens of the USSR, Poland, Spanish Republicans, representatives of other European countries. In the ranks of the "maki" fought and "Lieutenant Basile" - the national hero of France and the Hero of the Soviet Union, Lieutenant of the Red Army Vasily Porik.
Since the landing of the Allies in Normandy, the number of "maki" has increased dramatically, the benefit of the British transferred a lot weapons and explosives. The Der Führer regiment was tasked to advance towards Limoges in separate groups in order to suppress guerrilla activity in the whole Dordogne province. In 1985, the last commander of the 4 regiment "DF", SS lieutenant colonel Otto Weidinger published the 62-page booklet, where he described the events in Tulle. Here are quotes links from her. Of course, Weidinger's book was immediately banned in France.
In the village of Tulle (population over 15 thousand people) "poppies" surrounded 3 battalions of the 95th guard regiment. Major General Lammerding sends the 2nd Intelligence tank detachment under the command of Major SS Heinrich Wolfe. At 21:00 p.m. on June 8, they arrive at the village and, after a short battle, lift the siege, losing nine people dead.
And in the morning of the next day, a terrible picture unfolds: about forty disfigured corpses of German soldiers are found near the local school. Some of them had their genitals cut off and put into their mouths. The corpses of the other dead were littered with excrement. One of the victims was tied by the legs to the car and carried face down. Well, everything else, in an equally elegant French style. Locals claim that among the partisans were Poles, Spanish Republicans and even Russians. The deputy chief of the intelligence division of the SS captain Aurel Kovacs (what an interesting name in the SS!) And an officer of the BD named Walter arrived in Tulle with a detachment of Major Wolf. Captain Kovacs collects all the men in Tulle, aged from 16 to 60 years, a total of more than 3 thousand people in the yard of a local ammunition factory. With the help of the mayor of the city, the factory manager and local residents, Kovach was able to detain 120-130 completely foreign men. They did not live in the city, did not work, they did not have relatives there, they didn’t have any documents with them and could not explain why they were in Tulle. Tulle, by European standards, is not a village, but a small town. Clean, the streets are covered with asphalt. And the detainees, on the shoes were traces of dried clay. They came to Tulle not along the road, but through forests and fields. Aurel Kovac does not doubt that these aliens are partisans. From this group, he selects those who seemed to him younger than 20 years (they don’t have any documents) and lets him go. The remaining 99 (according to other 98 data) the person orders to hang (here it should be mentioned that on the memorial tombstone in Tulle the names are only 19 people). At the same time, Kovach has a written order from the divisional judge of the SS troops, Lieutenant Colonel Detlef Okrent, with reference to the Wehrmacht order "On the fight against gangs." All according to the law.
Detlef Okrent is a silver field hockey medalist at 1936. By the way, his surname is Polish, the word "okrent" (okręt) means "ship". This is the reason why this story was silent in the USSR. Yes, it is, in fact, nowhere popular. Describing the atrocities of the French partisans is ... umm ... not politically correct. And in the former USSR, it would not be politically correct to mention the SS Hauptsturmführer with a Romanian name and a Hungarian surname. On the same morning, the motorized detachment of the 3 th battalion of the regiment “DF” received an order to liberate the village of Gueret from the partisans. The SS attack the village, but it is already captured by the Wehrmacht. Not understanding the situation, and the SS and the Wehrmacht opened fire on each other, there are wounded on both sides. All the wounded are loaded onto two armored personnel carriers and taken to Limoges. On the way, they are overtaken by the SS battalion commander, Major SS Helmut Kampfe. A few minutes later his car is found on the road. The motor still works, but Kampfe has disappeared. His documents are found on the street in Limoges the next morning.
In the ranks of the "poppies" there were enough agents of the SD, they reported that an SS officer would be "ceremonially" executed in the village of Oradour-sur-Glain. Assuming that this is Helmut Kampf, the regimental commander Sylvester Stadler decides to release him at any cost. He orders the commander of the 1 Battalion, Major SS Adolph Otto Dieckmann, to take Oradur-sur-Glain and find Kampfe. At the same time, Diekmann was supposed to secure the release of Kampf “without excesses,” in an extreme case, he was allowed to take hostages from the village’s population for the subsequent exchange of prisoners. This is all that was in his competence. He had no right to take any further action.
For this operation, Dieckmann took over the 3 th rifle company under the command of SS Captain Otto Kahn. A company of Otto Dickmann's tank battalion, this is not even a motorized, but just a rifle company. Moving on trucks, armed with small arms, they also have no explosives with them.
On the way to Oradour, they find a German ambulance car, in which there were an orderly, a driver and four wounded. All burned alive, and the driver and a nurse chained to the steering wheel.
Dickmann's detachment is occupied by Oradur, the "maki" remaining there and some of the locals retreat. All captured men - and this is about 180 people - are detained and driven into the stable. Women and children (around 450 people) are locked in the local church. A search begins in homes where a large number of weapons and ammunition are found. The houses where weapons are found are set on fire. In 1969, a veteran of the Das Reich SS division Otto Weidinger met in Paris with the former commander of the Maki squads in the Dordogne province Rene Jugie. Juzhi confirmed that in Oradour they really hid weapons for all partisans in the region. Subsequent events have two "official" versions: German and French.
Let's start with the German. The bell tower of the church suddenly explodes, and the copper bell breaks through the roof. Otto Dickmann took this blast for a new partisan attack and ordered the men assembled in the stable to be shot and ready for battle. But the attack never followed, but the fire started in the church. The SS open the doors and try to save all those who survived the explosion. It was possible to save several women and children, which was later confirmed by the rescuers themselves. The fire was so strong that the copper bell melted. The walls of the church are still preserved. It sounds plausible, although there is one question: the men who were shot in the stable - who is this? Captured "poppies" or locals? Or those and others? Or is it the same thing?
French version. Dickmann gives the mayor of the village 30 minutes to return the captured Kampfe. After the ultimatum has not been fulfilled, the men are shot, and the church is set on fire. This version has questions. I did not accidentally mention that the 3-I company arrived in the village without explosives. Their task was to free the captured officer, and not to destroy the village. If they really set fire to the church together with the local population, why was it necessary to climb into the fire and save the same population? And, most importantly, why the bell tower collapsed, scattered into pieces and the copper bell melted if there was no explosion. Perhaps because the explosives were in the church itself and the detonator worked.
Photos taken inside the church do not confirm that there was a fire. There was a powerful explosion in the belfry, followed by breaking through the roof. The church bell did not melt, but shattered into pieces:
The wooden confessional on the left side of the church did not suffer at all, in spite of the described "arson" of the church by the SS:
On the same side there is a niche with an altar, which did not suffer at all and to this day looks like it was in its original form.
On the right side there are two niches with altars: the nearest one is destroyed, and the second has remained unchanged:
It is alleged that it was in the church that the completely burnt corpse of the mayor of Oradour-sur-Glance Paul Desourteaux was found.
Creepy photo. Mayor Desurto burned almost to non-recognition. Please note that not a rag of clothes is already on it, it has all burned down. He was the only victim whose remains were found burned. Here is another photo of the dead in the church, no less terrible. But here it is striking that most of the bodies are simply torn, their separate parts are clearly visible. Well, and most importantly, most of them show unburned clothing. These are victims of an explosion, not a fire. And if the church was blown up, then it was blown up by French partisans, not the SS.
The official story is based on the fact that the Germans “set on fire” the church, and did not blow it up. Adolph Otto Dieckmann committed a military offense regardless of whose version is correct: he drove the population of Oradour to the church, without having checked in advance if there was any explosives in the church itself. He did not fulfill the order and the civilian population perished through his fault. Colonel SS Stadler orders to collect documents and evidence to give Diekmann to the SS tribunal. Dickmann is not arrested, but he understands that he is waiting for the tribunal and the infamous shooting. He begins to seek death in battle and finds her 29 Jun in Normandy. According to eyewitnesses, Diekmann simply substituted himself under the fire of the enemy. His case is closed in the tribunal. Still, Major Kampf’s charred body is found in the Oradour area. The investigation of those events does not stop to this day both from the French and from the German side.
After the war, Heinz Lammerding was sentenced to death by the French in absentia, as was Aurel Kovac. The government of Germany refused to issue Lammerding to France. Aurel Kovach disappeared without a trace. Otto Weidinger was acquitted in a war crimes trial, and Sylvester Stadler and Detlef Okrent were not brought to trial at all. After the end of the war, a French court issued only 52 death certificates for those killed in Oradour. And 590 people were reported missing. They did not restore the settlement, but built a brand new brand with the same name. It so happened that the “missing” people from the dilapidated village moved to a new one, but, nevertheless, they were found to be either dead or missing. This means that the shooting of the male population in Oradour does not hold water. After all, it is alleged that the Germans shot adult men alone around 180. And why no one identified them and did not bury them? In Oradour there are no mass graves at all. All 52 dead are buried in individual graves in the city cemetery.
And one more strange fact. For some reason, those who died in Oradour did not have any heirs to their homes, land, and so on. But the village was not destroyed, everything could be repaired. In addition to the church, the rest of the houses were also brick built and were not destroyed to the ground. Oradur is not a Soviet collective farm, its houses and plots have owners. In the capitalist country there are always heirs to the property, but in Oradour was not found. And they made it, so to speak, a conservation area.
The answer is very simple. The government of the Fourth Republic and then-French President Vincent Auriol (Vincent Auriol) decided to make a monument to the victims of German crimes out of Oradour and simply paid off from the local people by building another village next door.
In Oradour-sur-Glaine, captured partisans and several local men could be shot, but not by numbers in 180 people. Total death toll: 52 person. This includes, those who died from the explosion in the church, as well as the shot guerrillas.
The events in Tulle and Oradour-sur-Glain were a dark spot in the history, not only of the SS troops, but also of the French resistance.