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On June 9, 1944, the day before the Oradour massacre, the SS division Das Reich recapture the town of Tulle, which had fallen into the hands of French partisans. There they find the mutilated corpses of sixty-two German soldiers who, after surrendering to the Resistance, had been butchered: “Some had had their genitals cut off and stuffed into their mouths. Others had been covered with excrement. One man had holes in his heels with a rope through them, and a smashed face, indicating that he had been tied to the back of a truck and driven around.” · Also on June 9, the Germans learn that French partisans have captured SS-Sturmbannführer Helmut Kämpfe, a popular officer, and plan to publicly burn him alive in Oradour, a center of partisan activity. · On June 10, in an attempt to rescue Kämpfe, a company of the SS regiment Der Führer, under the command of Stubaf. Adolf Dickmann, enters Oradour and discovers “a smoldering German army ambulance in which the driver and co-driver had been chained to the steering wheel and burnt alive together with their wounded passengers.” · Dickmann takes hostages and houses the women and children in the local church. The Germans hope to exchange the male hostages for Kämpfe, Dickmann’s close personal friend. · The Germans search the town for arms, discovering caches of illicit weapons in almost all the houses. (Partisan warfare, it should be remembered, is not sanctioned by international conventions and is technically illegal.) · The Germans discover another smouldering body, which they identify as Kämpfe. The partisans have, as the Germans feared, burned him alive. · Dickmann then, according to the conventional account of the Oradour massacre, orders the male hostages shot and orders his men to set fire to the church, incinerating all but three of the women and children inside. · The SS institutes court-martial proceedings against Dickmann, a clear indication that Oradour-like war crimes were not routine SS behavior. Dickmann will later die in Normandy without coming to trial.
(from: Some Thoughts on Hitler (Irmin Vinson)
Can you really blame them?