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22.08.2020 Europe

French President Macron expresses anger at graffiti denying WWII atrocities

By RFI
PASCAL LACHENAUD / AFP
LISTEN AUG 22, 2020
PASCAL LACHENAUD / AFP

Graffiti on a WWII memorial has triggered local indignation and the anger of French President Emmanuel Macron, who promised that “everything will be done” to find those responsible.

The texts were discovered when the center to commemorate second world war atrocities in the town of Oradour-sur-Glane opened its doors on Friday morning.

A picture taken by employees of Oradour's  “Martyr's Village” shows the front of the building with the word “martyr” crossed out with a line of white paint, followed by the word “menteur” (“liar,") and the question “When will the truth come out? – Reynouard was right!” referring to the notorious neo-nazi and holocaust denier Vincent Reynouard.  

The memorial commemorates the massacre of 642 villagers during a raid by German SS troops on June 10, 1944.

The Nazis gathered the men of the village in a barn where they shot and killed them, then herded women and children into the local church before setting it on fire.

"They crossed out the word martyr, they put a liar and the name of a revisionist instead, you understand that we are shocked", the mayor of Oradour-sur-Glane, Philippe Lacroix said.

On Saturday morning, the center filed an official complaint.

"We think of Robert Hébras, a survivor, and we remember all the families of the victims," Lacroix said during a ceremony on Saturday afternoon, alongside other elected officials.

"We must never relent in our fight against denial and revisionism, and we must do this together."

Security camera footage
Local Councillor Fabrice Escure said an investigation is underway. "The gendarmes will see if they can get something out of it," he said, referring to footage of surveillance cameras at the site.

President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday promised that "everything will be done" to prosecute the authors of the graffiti.

In a statement, the Elysee palace said Macron "condemns with greatest firmness this unspeakable act."

The President has given his full support to the mayor and the municipality. He assures them that "everything will be done so that the perpetrators of this act are brought to justice."

Macron's office sent Jean-Baptiste Djebbari to meet with local representatives on Saturday afternoon.

Over the course of the day, many other politicians from across the political spectrum spoke out against the incident on social media.

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