German leader visits site of French WWII massacre

ORADOUR-SUR-GLANE, France (AP) — Holding hands in quiet tribute, the presidents of Germany and France are visiting the scene of the largest massacre in Nazi-occupied France nearly seven decades ago.

Wednesday’s visit by German President Joachim Gauck to the southwestern French town of Oradour-sur-Glane is the first by a serving German leader.

On June 10, 1944 — four days after the Allied D-Day landings — an SS armored division herded hundreds of civilians into barns and a church, blocked the doors and set fire to the town. A total of 642 men, women and children died. Only six people survived.

French President Francois Hollande and Gauck joined hands inside the church’s ruins.

Oradour-sur-Glane today remains a phantom village.

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