France outraged after memorial to Nazi massacre defaced

French leader Macron vows that those who desecrated memorial to victims of Nazi massacre will be caught.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

French officials expressed outrage over the defacing of a memorial at a village that was the scene of a brutal massacre of civilians by the Nazis in World War II, the BBC reported Saturday.

President Emmanuel Macron called the defacing “unspeakable” and vowed that those responsible would be brought to justice.

The inscription at the memorial to the village of Oradour-sur-Glane in south-central France had the word “martyr” painted over with the word “liar,” the BBC reported.

In one of the more brutal massacres committed by German troops, the village was totally destroyed by the SS in 1944 who rounded up 642 inhabitants, mostly women and children. The Nazis herded the villagers into a local church and threw in hand grenades before setting it on fire.

The men of the village were separately locked in a barn, after which the building was fired at with machine-guns, doused with gasoline and also set on fire.

After the war, the French government preserved the entire original destroyed village as a memorial to the victims of Nazi tyranny, and a new village was built nearby.

“We know what happened here but obviously there are always people who try to tell lies,” said Oradour-sur-Glane Mayor Philippe Lacroix.

“To soil this place… is also to soil the memory of our martyrs,” said Prime Minister Jean Castex.

“Shame on those who did this,” tweeted Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti.

In the past years there have been numerous incidents of vandalism against Jewish cemeteries in France, many times with Nazi swastika symbols being painted on tombstones and memorials.

The incident is fueling growing concern over remembering World War II in France, where some 600,000 people are estimated to have been killed, including 72,500 Jews.

“What shocks me is that we do not realize that children and women lost their lives in excruciating pain,” said Robert Hebras, 95, the last living survivor of the massacre.

“What I fear is that everyone will now talk about Oradour for 48 hours and then we stop and then we will forget,” Hebras told AFP.