The coincidence is shocking or, perhaps, one more example of the importance of historical memory. While the Spanish vice-president, Carmen Calvo, gave recognition this Saturday to the last surviving Spaniard from the Nazi concentration camp of Mauthausen, Juan Romero, in the French town of Ay-Champagne, the French authorities, with President Emmanuel Macron at the fore, condemned the denialist graffiti that appeared elsewhere on the map of France, in the memory center of Oradour-sur-Glane, a martyr people where on June 10, 1944 Nazi troops massacred 642 of its inhabitants.
“Everything possible” will be done to find the perpetrators of the denial attack and bring them to justice, Macron promised this Saturday. The head of state “condemns this unspeakable act in the strongest terms,” said Elíseo. The official sentences have not stopped since, on Friday morning, when the memory center was opened, the attack was discovered: someone had crossed out the word “martyr” with paint at the entrance of the building dedicated to remember the Nazi massacre and wrote next to “liar”. A plastic covered the rest of the wall, where according to the local newspaper Le Populaire “a reference to a revisionist and theories that regularly arise about this martyr people” had been added 20 kilometers from Limoges.
Someone has crossed out the word “martyr” with paint and written “liar” next to it.
This center recalls the events of 76 years ago, when in an “exemplary action” of the Nazi troops harassed by the recent Allied landing in Normandy, some 200 soldiers from the Das Reich division appeared in Oradour and proceeded to corner the entire population . The soldiers separated the men from the town, whom they executed simultaneously, from the women and children, whom they locked up in the church where they then detonated several explosives, before razing the rest of the town. It is the largest massacre against the civilian population in France during the Second World War.
“To soil this place of recollection is also to soil the memory of our martyrs,” declared Prime Minister Jean Castex. The condemnation has also been unanimous by the entire political spectrum, from the leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who declared himself “horrified by the desecration,” to the far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who called for more decisive action to be put an end to this “surge in deeply damaging actions.” The director of the Oradour memory center, Fabrice Escure, informed Agence France Presse that this same Saturday a complaint was filed to investigate the events, for which the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, has promised everything the support of the forces of order under his command.
The condemnations of this revisionist act coincided with the delivery by the Spanish vice president, Carmen Calvo, of the declaration of recognition and personal reparation to Juan Romero, 101, for “his fight against fascism, for freedoms and in defense of democracy ”. At the ceremony at the Ay-Champagne Town Hall, where the last Spanish survivor of Mauthausen resides, Calvo also underlined the importance of recognizing the Spanish exile once and for all and assured that Spanish democracy will pay off this “pending debt” with the law of historical memory that will present soon.
It is the largest massacre against the civilian population in France during World War II
“Those who paid with their lives have run out of time, survivors like Juan have run out of place, their country, Spain. For this reason, the rest of us cannot lose memory, because democratic memory is what allows a society not to lose its way, ”Calvo stressed. Originally, the vice president had planned to have participated in the tribute that was paid last July in Paris to Romero and Rafael Gómez, who until his death in March was the last survivor of La Nueve, the French Army company made up mostly of Spaniards that led the liberation of Paris on August 24, 1944.
Calvo had to cancel his attendance due to the extension of the stay in Brussels of the president, Pedro Sánchez, by the European Council where the aid fund for the coronavirus was approved. Hence, now he has gone to France to fulfill this visit, making it coincide with the anniversary of the liberation of Paris this Monday, which he will commemorate with the mayor of the capital, Anne Hidalgo, after meeting with Castex.