Here, on June 10th, 1944, 642 villagers were killed by Waffen SS troops. 205 children died in the attack. I think the worst bit for me is the fact that the Nazi officers rounded up the men, sending the women and children to the church, then shot the men. To have been a woman in the church on that day, to know what was inevitable, to have to wait for certain death, to be with your children. There can be nothing worse.
Incendiary devices were set off in the church, and when the women and children tried to escape, they were shot by machine gunners. You can trace the bullet holes in the church stone with your fingers.
In truth, it is a very peaceful place, and it reminded me more of ancient ruins, like those at Volubilis, than it did a town that had been home to such a massacre. Had it not been for the signs, you would have no idea what happened here on that day in June 1944.
Sometimes it’s hard to recall exactly why you should get involved in someone else’s battle. This is why.