Search for 47 Slain Wehrmacht Soldiers Begins in France In southwestern France, German soldiers committed severe war crimes during World War II. In response, French resistance fighters executed dozens of Wehrmacht soldiers. Now, there are indications of a mass grave.
Search Commences in France for 47 Wehrmacht Soldiers Executed in 1944 The search for 47 Wehrmacht soldiers executed in 1944 begins in southern France on Tuesday. Former French resistance fighter Edmond Reveil broke the silence surrounding the mass shooting of prisoners of war during World War II, setting the investigations in motion. According to France 3, the presumed mass grave will be initially located using ground-penetrating radar by Friday.
Germany to Arrange Exhumation and Burial of 47 Soldiers in Suspected Mass Grave in France If the Germans are found at the presumed location, the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgraberfürsorge (German War Graves Commission) will arrange for the exhumation and burial of the soldiers in a German military cemetery, as announced by the French Ministry of Defense.
Retribution for War Crimes by the Waffen-SS The region is known for severe war crimes committed by German soldiers: in June 1944, SS soldiers in Tulle, located 50 kilometers away, hanged 99 civilians from balconies and lampposts. Another SS unit carried out the worst massacre in Western Europe during World War II, resulting in 643 deaths in Oradour-sur-Glane.
Germans and Accused French Collaborator Executed in Retaliation As retaliation, the Germans, along with a French woman accused of collaboration, were executed in a forested area in June 1944. While this was generally known, all parties involved remained silent about the circumstances. The last surviving witness recently broke his silence at the age of 98.
Former Resistance Fighter Desires a Memorial Stone The 98-year-old Edmond Reveil states that the partisans were overwhelmed with the task of caring for a group of prisoners of war. He emphasizes that it was not an act of revenge and that he was unaware of the massacres by the Waffen-SS in Tulle and Oradour-sur-Glane at the time.
Mixed Reactions to New Developments in the Region Edmond Reveil appears relieved today, having relieved himself of a lifelong burden. He hopes that a memorial stone will be erected in the Meymac forest for the deceased Germans. This would be a first in France.
Controversy Surrounds the Unearthing of History Not everyone in the region is pleased with the recent developments. “Nobody wanted the story to resurface and tarnish the image of the resistance,” says the mayor of Meymac, Philippe Brugere, to the AFP news agency, referring to the initial localizations in the 1960s.
Conflicting Sentiments Amidst the Revelations This sentiment still lingers today. “Reveil would have been better off remaining silent,” says former farmer Andre Nirelli. On the other hand, he understands the descendants of the German soldiers who would finally gain certainty through this process. “Perhaps one must also know what happened,” he adds thoughtfully.