Oradour-sur-Glane Massacre Investigated Further

In 1944, Oradour-sur-Glane was the site of a major massacre. Werner Christukat was a member of the Nazi SS at the time, and his involvement has undergone investigation to determine whether or not he should be charged for war crimes due to his part there. Haunted by the memories of what he saw during his time fighting for Germany, Werner was but a teenager when the massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane took place.

Werner claims that he did his best to deter villagers from entering the area when he knew that the massacre was an inevitability. His involvement at Oradour-sur-Glane is highly suspect, as the 181 men killed there were shot by machine guns; Werner was trained as a gunner. The event itself was incredibly brutal. Not only were the men killed by gunfire, but the women and children received arguably more excruciating deaths as they were huddled into a church which was then set ablaze.

Today, Werner does not seem to embody the typical idea of Nazi appearance and behavior. He is not rigid, not bitter, not aggressive; he is a family man with two children and many grandchildren, who is satisfied with the life he has lived following the end of WWII. While he claims not to have taken part in the massacre itself, he admits that he was present at Oradour-sur-Glane and feels immense shame over his lack of ability to prevent the killings from occurring. If his indictment holds true, and he did in fact take part in the murders of 642 people, his shame is very much warranted, the Spiegel Online International reports.

In some ways, Werner is a victim of the shame felt by an entire nation. Germany is highly aware that many criminals from WWII have already died or are dying, and they are running out of time to hold people responsible for the actions taken in that era. With the massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane being as horrible as it was, it is one of the main events of the war which they feel they can prosecute so long as those present remain alive.

Some believe that time has run out to prosecute anyone for the Oradour-sur-Glane massacre. They may, in fact, be right. With so many active participants already deceased, it is believed by many that today’s Nazi hunters are merely grasping at straws to find someone on whom they can heap responsibility for the actions of many. That, coupled with the immense amount of time passed since the massacre, means that the horrors at Oradour-sur-Glane might never see justice. Either that, or Werner Christukat might hang for crimes primarily committed by others. Only time will tell, as the results of the investigation have yet to be attained.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE