Oradour massacre

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Oradour massacre

Post by Inkflo on Tue Dec 09, 2014 5:20 pm

Looks like the Germans are abandoning charges against former SS member Werner Christukat for crimes committed at Oradour Sur Glane due to insuffcient evidence.
http://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/limousin/2014/12/09/massacre-d-oradour-sur-glane-abandon-des-poursuites-contre-un-octogenaire-allemand-inculpe-en-janvier-609318.html

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Re: Oradour massacre

Post by tocyvi on Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:09 pm

Hi Inkflo
There is also an article about this in the Guardian today

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/09/german-court-throws-out-case-nazi-massacre-france
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Re: Oradour massacre

Post by Richard T on Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:50 am

Anyone who has been to Oradour-sur-Glane - especially when all is quiet before the tourist buses arrive - cannot help but be moved by the scene.

The French article linked to by Inkflo fails to mention the "symbolic gesture of reconciliation..." occasioned by "...the presidents of France and Germany [meeting] at the now-abandoned village with one of the few survivors of the massacre", referred to by the Guardian.

It's easy pontificate about the whole grizzly affair and its unsatisfactory legal aftermath without really understanding what suffering the families of the victims have been through during the last 70 years but I cannot help but feel that the pursuing of charges against an 89 year old man who was a teenager at the time of the massacre and against whom no credible incriminating evidence has been established, would make a mockery of the "symbolic gesture of reconciliation".

However, what the English language article failed to mention was that l'association des familles de victimes is likely to launch an appeal against the decision not to prosecute, an indication perhaps that the reconciliation is indeed symbolic rather than actual.

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Re: Oradour massacre

Post by Inkflo on Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:45 am

I think Richard, that if there were no surviving family members, this would perhaps have been different.
I'm not sure what my feelings would be had it been one or more of my own family massacred that day.
I'm all for reconciliation, but I can feel some empathy for their need for justice and truth.
Seeing what's happening in the world today, I can't help feeling that sadly, not much has changed.

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Re: Oradour massacre

Post by Richard T on Wed Dec 10, 2014 3:32 pm

Inkflo wrote:I think Richard, that if there were no surviving family members, this would perhaps have been different.
I'm not sure what my feelings would be had it been one or more of my own family massacred that day.
I'm all for reconciliation, but I can feel some empathy for their need for justice and truth.

I understand exactly what you're saying but the reality is there will always be surviving family members - that's the nature of families, they just go on down the generations. So at what point do they draw a line and move on? In another 70 years, 100 years, 500 years?

In this particular case the prosecution was dropped because after nearly a year of investigation they were unable to unearth any credible evidence that this person had been directly involved in the massacre. There were no witness statements, no identification, nothing - only the soldier's own admission that he was in the area at the time. As a 19 year old soldier I don't suppose he had much choice as to where he was posted.

So it seems to me that unless the appeal to be launched by l'association des familles de victimes has identified fresh evidence then it is merely seeking revenge rather than truth and justice. Of course on an emotional level you can't blame them given the parlous state of most of the legal proceedings which have taken place over the years but surely justice should not be about creating scapegoats to satisfy our emotional needs but about ensuring a fairness which applies equally to the victims and the alleged perpetrators.

Seeing what's happening in the world today, I can't help feeling that sadly,  not much has changed.
I think you're absolutely right. Humans have a huge capacity to learn lessons from history but sadly they fail miserably when it comes to actually applying those lessons to today's world.

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