An Open Letter To An Unconvicted Nazi Mass Murderer

In 1944, Nazi troops encircled the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane and slaughtered all but seven villagers. Werner Christukat was one of those soldiers. He needs to confess.

Werner Christukat discusses the massacre on French television channel BFMTV

An open letter to Werner Christukat, Waffen-SS soldier and participant in the pogrom at Oradour-sur-Glane :

My grandfather was a U.S. airman shooting down over occupied France during World War II. He traveled the countryside for months, scaping German patrols. In a declassified intelligence report, he dreadfully recollects, “I checked a town within four hours bicycle go up the Gerbeau farm where some 500 humen, females, and children had been murdered by the Germans. I determined one baby who had been crucified.”

This crime is likely one that you know well–the carnage at Oradour-sur-Glane.

In June of last year, national courts in Cologne, Germany rejected relevant law precedent and dismissed your lawsuit. One of Hitler’s most elite fighting soldiers, you two are charged with assassinating 25 helpless males in Oradour, as well as are in place to ignite alive hundreds of women and children.

For decades, Waffen-SS soldiers have avoided responsibility for their grisly wartime numbers. In 2011, nonetheless, the legal scenery in Germany unexpectedly altered. The tribulation of a protect from Sobibor extermination camp ushered in a new epoch of Nazi prosecutions, including that of Reinhold Hanning, who was recently convicted of 170,000 counts of accessory to murder.

As a matter of constitution, it is no longer necessary to prove direct involvement in a particular killing. Rather, all that is required is a is demonstrating that you were part of a greater killing apparatus, or a cog in apparatu designed wholly for the aim of slaying. In other terms, merely existence and carry are enough to establish regret. Yet somehow you remain free.

National Association of the Class of the Martyrs of Oradour-sur-Glane
Oradour-sur-Glane prior to the opening of the campaign

On June 10, 1944, the 2nd SS Panzer Division “Das Reich” descended upon Oradour. As your convoy approached, law enforcement officers was discover informing his gentlemen, “Today, blood must flow.” They circumvented the village with armed precision. The more experienced soldiers had learned their skill on the east front, where mass murder was a frequent implement of occupation.

The first fires rang out as rifle and machine gun shoot impressed down villagers working in the fields. Once the village was encircled, it was clear that the men in the cordon “havent had” intent of stopping innocent civilians from entering. Instead, their destination was to ensure that no one could escape the carnage to come. The noose was beginning to tighten.

Halftracks loaded with combat-ready units accused through the heart of Oradour. A methodical roundup embarked, with every soldier leading guys, girls, and children to the hamlet fairground. The SS disappeared house to house, pushing citizens into the streets, filming the old-fashioned and infirm in their beds.

Camouflaged soldiers burst into the schools screaming, “Alle raus! ” Children diligently followed their teachers as they were passed away. One panicked son waited behind. He announced out to his sisters and then sprinted from the classroom.

At seven years old, Roger Godfrin was the only child to survive the massacre.

National Association of the Class of the Martyrs of Oradour-sur-Glane
The ruins of Oradour-sur-Glane

The fairground overflowed as all the villagers made. Girls carried their babies and pushed them in postures, boys and girls were exclaiming next to their teachers, mortals sat by in stupefied stillnes. The SS divided them into two groups. Women and children were paraded off to the church. Boy were forced into six other buildings.

At a nearby barn, soldiers chortled openly before settling in behind their machine guns. The people from the hamlet huddled together inside. When the signal was given, the killing began in earnest. Gunners smoothed their fuel backward and forward as the Frenchmen fell in twisted heaps of blood and busted legs. A few of survivors experienced soldiers climbing on their backs. They lay motionless, feigning fatality, as pistol hits silenced those bellowing around them. The building was then set afire. One mortal struggled to free himself from the corpses as the kindles licked at his body. In the interval, he had been able to listen an disturbing reverberate. The soldiers were playing music.

Robert Hebras escaped the killing machine that day, along with only four other men.

Inside the church, the SS laid down a large box at the front of the nave. The women and children examined on nervously. When the rocket exploded, it crowded the air with thick-skulled pitch-black inhale. Gunners rushed in, hurling grenades and spraying the crowd with bullets. Fathers descended dead in front of their babies. Children flowed calling, their robes engulfed in flames. The SS stoked the fervour, piling break-dance pews and straw on top of the bodies. Behind the altar, one woman attracted herself to her feet. With her last-place ounce of persuasivenes, she clawed her channel up to a window and jumped.

Marguerite Rouffanche was the only woman to survive, engaging her road free from the red-hot crematorium inside the church.

National Association of the Households of the Martyrs of Oradour-sur-Glane
Marguerite Rouffanche

The bulk of the killing complete, soldiers took to the streets, firebombing the remaining builds and hunting for survivors. Corpses were found in nearby domains and thrown down a reservoir. Sleuths would later detect their own bodies of a babe shoved inside the baker’s oven.

Of the 642 beings murdered, more than 200 of the victims were children. It was the largest mass killing in occupied France during the war.

After your group went, rescue workers were met with a scene of unconscionable inhumanity. Within the church, a dense glue of human continues flowed in all the regions of the storey. Boys and girls were mashed against the boundary, their faces no longer recognizable. Struggling to escape the intense heat, they left melted flesh glued to the walls. In a slope chapel, baby carriages seats riddled with shrapnel. Kept by their heavy prams, the babies inside may have been the last to holler as the burn overtook them.

In 2010, Nazi hunters located a document in the archives of the Stasi, the former East German secret police. It was a company register for the Das Reich Division that included your name alongside other known perpetrators of the massacre.

When questioned by German attorneys and reporters, you made a series of admittances. You acknowledged that you two are a machine gunner and that you were present at Oradour. You were part of the cordon that sealed off the perimeter, preventing the villagers from escaping. More importantly, your duties brought you into the center of the hamlet whatever it is you understood the missile placed inside the church. You even admitted that you were close enough to hear the women and children shrieking as they met their shameful fate. Nonetheless, you disclaimed all responsibility for the crime.

National Association of the Families of the Martyrs of Oradour-sur-Glane
Interior of the church

I have lost myself in this at times, leading through the events again and again, daydream of the children. These most innocent preys should never be forgotten. They are not insignificant.

On that day in Oradour, you and the soldiers alongside you two are energetic murderers. You realized hell on earth possible. The defeat was synced. It was mass murder to music, and there were only seven survivors. As the cordon pushed in toward the church, each soldier became a complicit slouse in the larger killing machine. Even the men on the boundary guarantees that no one could escape. It was a systematic attempt to obliterate a village. Just the working day prior, people from your divide hanged 99 civilians in a nearby township. Their bodies hung from lampposts and balconies as SS officers listened to music on a gramophone.

These are grisly violations with no statute of limitations. The need for right abides strong, but my intent in writing this letter is not is requested that you stand experiment. Rather, I am asking you to do something far more difficult.

Prove your humanity. Confess everything you did that day and everything you pictured. Defend to the last living survivors for causing them such incredible pain.

Your time in this world is growing short. Doing anything else at this late hour was able to approve what I have felt all along. You are a monster.

National Association of the Houses of the Martyrs of Oradour-sur-Glane
A bullet-riddled baby carriage at the basis of the confessional

McKay Smith is an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, National Security Division. He is also an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Law School and the George Mason University School of Law where he schools courses on government oversight and internal investigations. Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Smith was a senior auditor with the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not inevitably represent the views of the Department of Justice or the United States .