Germany Re-Opens Investigation Into Massacre of 642 French Citizens at Hands of Nazis

January 31, 2013 2:21 pm 0 comments

Heinz Barth. Photo: Oradour.info

Germany has re-opened an investigation into the massacre of 642 citizens in the small French town of Oradour-sur-Glane.

According to the UK’s Daily Mail, more than 68 years later, German authorities believe there may be six men still at large, all now in their late 80s, who were members of SS Panzer Division that committed the atrocity.

There had been several probes into the massacre, all shut down due to a lack of evidence, but an historian in 2010 discovered documents implicating all six suspects, still alive and now aged between 85 and 86.

A German prosecutor and senior police officers recently visited the village, which the Nazis burned down. The village has been left untouched since the massacre to serve both as a shrine to those who died and as a reminder of the evils of Nazi Germany.

The team of investigators from Berlin want to speak to the two living survivors of the bloodbath, carried out in revenge for the capture of a German officer by French resistance fighters in a nearby village.

Robert Hebras, 87 – was one of only six villagers who escaped the carnage – said: ‘It is a very strange moment to see German officials here 68 years later.

“But I applaud what they are doing and pray there is still time to bring to justice any of the monsters still alive did this to us.”

Prosecutor Andreas Brendel told French reporters in Oradour: “We hope the survivors may be able to help us identify any culprits who are still alive.”

In 1953 a French military tribunal sentenced 21 Nazi soldiers to death for the atrocities, but their sentences were commuted in the name of ‘national reconciliation’ between France and Germany.The only man convicted was SS-Obersturmfhrer Heinz Barth, who gave the order to shoot 20 male victims. Barth was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1983 and released in 1997. He died  ten years later in August 2007.

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