On 10 June 1944, four days after Allied forces landed in Normandy, the picturesque village of Oradour-sur-Glane in the rural heart of France was destroyed by an armoured SS Panzer division. Six hundred and forty-three men, women and children were murdered in the nation’s worst wartime atrocity.
Silent Village is the first account of Oradour before and after the tragedy, told through the eyes of those who lived there. Its community, politicians, customs and culture during the years of occupation are brought vividly to life in this unique insight into the everyday lives, loves and rivalries of a typical village in Vichy France.
Oradour was in the wrong place at the wrong time, exterminated for reasons of expediency. Despite contemporary hearsay, Nazi rhetoric and revisionist theories the only explanation for its fate lies in the context of that moment in time. Drawing on new interviews with survivors and a re-examination of archival material, historian Robert Pike creates an in-depth understanding of that what happened in the months leading up to, and including, that day. He unravels the shock of an unfolding tragedy and aftermath in which whole villages were left bereft of children. The stories of its people are freed from the rubble of a community that had lived for a thousand years, but was destroyed in a day.
Robert Pike has produced a highly readable and fascinating account of French life under the Occupation, illuminating through the tragedy of Oradour-sur-Glane one of the darkest moments in France’s dark years.
Chris Millington, author of France in the Second World War: Collaboration, Resistance, Holocaust, Empire
"Exactly the kind of micro-history relating to Occupation and Resistance that needs to be done...Still more, it is a remarkable social and cultural case-study"
Rod Kedward, author of In Search of the Maquis
‘Based on eye-witness accounts, Robert Pike’s moving book vividly depicts the lives of the villagers who were caught up in the tragedy of Oradour-sur-Glane and brings their experiences to our attention for the first time’
Hanna Diamond, author of Fleeing Hitler
The village of Oradour-sur-Glane and its museum, the Centre de la Mémoire, is open to the public all year round. It is found twenty kilometres to the west of Limoges in Haute-Vienne, France.