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I remember how terrified my friends and I were after each release, Lieutenant Walter would approach our group and make a new choice to complete the group of future victims. Forty German soldiers were murdered in the most horrible manner by a band of communists. Their bodies will be thrown in the river -- Poster signed by the commanding General of the German troops, posted in Tulle.

We have hanged over a thousand men in Kharkov and in Kiev , this is nothing to us [49]. Before they were led to the square in Souilhac, Bouty told them: I ask you to remain calm. Do not make a move, do not say a word". The victims selected for hanging were led in groups of ten to the place of their execution. Two SS stood by each noose; one of them then climbed the steps of the ladder or stepladder with the condemned. Once he reached the desired height, he put the noose on the prisoner, held him, and then the other SS brutally removed the prisoner's stepladder".

He attended the first executions. During that of the first group, "in one case [ After that, he noted that "the execution squad forced the condemned to walk, and not without violence; I can still see the soldier, in a fit of rage, breaking the butt of his rifle on the back of a victim who had frozen in horror at the sight of the noose". Of men assembled under duress, of soldiers below the gallows, of groups of hostages led to their deaths, and the silence".

Why were the executions stopped at 99 victims? With its absence of significance, the number of victims remains a mystery.


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In successive versions of his account, Father Espinasse attributes to himself alone the credit for having stopped the hangings. According to him, while nine groups, or 90 men, had already been hanged, and after being brought back into the courtyard of the weapons factory after the murder of 20 or 30 citizens of Tulle, he found that the tenth group included 13 men. He intervened with Walter Schmald and obtained not only that four men would be removed from the group, but also that this would be the last march to the noose and thus the number of victims was This version, repeated by many authors, is challenged by Bruno Kartheuser who finds the story inconsistent and implausible.

Kartheuser first points out that the decisive intervention that is attributed to Father Jean Espinasse is not confirmed by any witness, though several hundred people were gathered in the courtyard of the factory at that time; this intervention is not mentioned in the declaration made in by the president of the special delegation from Tulle, Colonel Bouty, that attributed the interventions and rescues to the director of the Brandt facility Factory at la Marque, Henry Vogel, Deputy Director of Weapons Manufacture in Tulle, Laborie, and Chief Engineer of Roads and Bridges, Lajugie.

In this way, he earned four pardons and allowed the Deputy Director of the weapons factory, Laborie, to claim and remove these men; Lajugie, Chief Engineer in the region further argued exhaustively to save an engineer in his service but his efforts were in vain. Finally, for Kartheuser, given the strict hierarchy in place in the SS, it is not possible that Schmald could have made the decision to stop the executions because they had been ordered by General Lammerding who said after the war that it was on his order that the hangings were stopped before the predetermined victims , that the hangings were supervised by Kowatsch and that one of the superiers of Schmald in the SD either Korten or Butsch were present at the time.

Beaubatie, "the number of 99 victims was the consequence of an accumulation of material facts independent of each other […] But more than the number, the staging of the hangings would reinforce the terror for a long time. The efficacy was not related to a specific figure, but much more, the staging of a spectacle of violence designed to humiliate the men.

The bodies of the executed were taken down at the beginning of the evening by the members of the Chantiers de Jeunesse, under the orders of men of the 4th company of the battalion of scouts; despite the intervention of local authorities, they were buried on the site of a garbage dump in Cueille, without any effort for identification, and with only a brief impromptu ceremony that was cut short by the Germans, during which Father Espinasse, in the presence of the uniformed Prefect and his Cabinet Director, blessed the bodies.

On 10 June, the hostages remaining at the weapons factory in Tulle were treated in the same manner as in the selection of the hanging victims the previous day: With the massacres at Tulle and Oradour-sur-Glane , and other killings, it had killed people, including many civilians. Repression continued in Tulle in the weeks following the hangings.

From 11 June to 31 July, the laboratory of the weapons factory was used as a center of torture, where Collaborator militia cooperated with Walter Schmald. The public proclamations and explanations given by the Germans to the French authorities reliably refer to the potential for the murder of unarmed German soldiers.

According to the German argument, reprisals conformed with international military law, under the Armistice of 22 June and under the second Hague Convention. Following the trial conducted in Belgium on the execution of hostages by German troops and one conducted in Italy for the Ardeatine massacre , one can conclude that the Tulle massacre has been effected in violation of the law of armed conflict.

François Villon

Any other name, like that of reprisals, is a white-washing, an absolving measure, belonging to the jargon of perpetrators of these crimes and participants in their logic with them. The massacre at Tulle was carried out in order to punish a capital of the Resistance, in order to terrorize other regions, in accordance with the established practices of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS on the Eastern Front; it resulted "from the action and the inaction of many people", be they members of the Wehrmacht, the Waffen-SS or the SD.

For these historians, the account of Weidinger has no merit. Eberhard Jaeckel "doubts the veracity of these claims and asks whether the alleged atrocities were not used to justify the behavior of the SS. Penaud, "various testimonies of military or civilian Germans found by Bruno Kartheuser are somewhat contradictory on the question of "mutilations" of victims, according to the rumor, German victims; to tell the truth, reading subsequent declarations from the SS , he did not find one that made direct mention of these atrocities: Kartheuser refuted point by point these revisionist theses.

The only fact was that it was contrary to articles 23c and 23d of the Annex of the Hague Convention of concerning the laws and customs of war on land [69] that state "It is especially prohibited [.. According to a witness, Robert Lajugie, "from the surrender of the besieged, I saw the bodies of the victims. Some certainly were damaged and it is true that there were some fractured skulls and exposed brain matter, but that was the result of a concentration of automatic gunfire.

He asked me if I had seen the mutilations of the bodies of our fallen soldiers in the town. Contrary to claims that this was the case, I stated emphatically that I had not seen any mutilation on the sixty dead that I saw. According to the book by Schneid, Kartheuser wrote that he "assigns, in the most heavy-handed manner of all versions that circulated, sufficient blame for the deliberate mutilations carried out on some German corpses. Schneider does not mention seeing this. Walter Schmald, of the SiPo - SD , was captured by resistance fighters at Brive on the 15 August , and was executed by them without trial on 22 August.

He was prosecuted for his voluntary support for the Waffen-SS, considered a criminal organization according to the Nuremberg trials , and was acquitted. The three accused officers were sentenced to 15 Franz Reichmann, Willi Schlewski or 10 Jean Retzer years of hard labour; 4 of the accused were found guilty but were later released on the basis that they had acted under orders and 3 were acquitted. Schlewski and Retzer were released on the 18 September and Reichmann was released on the 25 January The trial case against Kahn et al.

Hangings in Tulle opened in Bordeaux on 4 July and the verdict was pronounced the following day. Only five people stood accused: This last was accused of having not saved an engineer of the factory that she could have done without running any personal risk. Curiously, the tribunal declined to try hundreds of people including the members of the execution squad who could easily have been included.

Lammerding and Kowatsch, that latter of which had died in March on the Eastern Front near the Hungarian border, were condemned to death in absentia; Hoff and Wulf received 10 years of hard labour and Paula Geissler received 3 years in prison. After an appeal before the tribunal of Marseille , Hoff's sentence was reduced, on 27 May , to 5 years inclusive of time served.

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Hoff was released following the sentencing in his appeal. Wulf had been pardoned by French President Vincent Auriol and released in the week prior. After Lammerding was sentenced to death, the French government requested his extradition, alongside the British Occupying Forces at the end of January and an arrest warrant was issued for Lammerding by the British High Commissioner on 27 February under law number 10 of the Allied Control Council. However, these garnered no response and Lammerding was never inconvenienced by justice.

Proceedings were opened against Lammerding by the Central Office of North-Rhine Westphalia in December , in the course of which Lammerding was questioned in February ; on 9 October , the director of the Central Office of the State Justice Administrations for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes issued a stay of proceedings based solely on Lammerding's version of events.

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The legal findings quite clearly dismiss Lammerding's claims: These 99 were killed in a cruel manner, without trial and without having proved their participation in the partisan attack the day before. His [Lammerding's] assertion that the best part of the 99 killed were partisans and not hostages is inaccurate. The killing of these civilians can rightly be called the murder of hostages since these killings are even more objectionable than the killing of true hostages.

A last attempt to bring Lammerding to justice was made following the publication of a book by Jacques Delarue, Trafics et crimes sous l'occupation , in Following that publication, the socialist Deputy-Mayor of Tulle, Montalat, asked on the 11 October , that the French government demand that the German government open proceedings in Germany against Lammerding and that it do so urgently as the first volume of a revisionist history of the Das Reich division had just been published under the pen name of Otto Weidinger in Germany.

Brawls and Disappearance

Like its predecessors, this request was not followed up. Since the massacre, various ceremonies, memorials and commemorations have been organized to honor the victims of the events at Tulle. Works devoted, in whole or in part, to the massacre at Tulle are relatively numerous, notably even if compared to the abundant bibliography concerning the massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane.

Two works have been written by hostages who survived the ordeal, Jean-Louis Bourdelle and Antoine Soulier.

The book by Antoine Soulier is considered "one of the most accurate and the most poignant stories of the drama. The author, a teacher whose son was hanged, was one of the people most active in the reconstruction of the event and in finding those responsible. The story of the Canon Jean Espinasse, cannot be ruled out, but "with increasing distance and successive editions, Canon Espinasse has accentuated more and more the priestly importance the event showcased for him and his memories become increasingly problematic as a historical source.

The stories and the personality of Canon Espinasse have contributed the most to the creation of myths.

"Odette Le Pendu" by John A. Kerner, M.D. - Consulat Général de France à San Francisco

The document is most accurate wherever the responsibilities of the prefect are least involved; there, however, where the liability of the prefect could be questioned, the recounting of events are more subjective. This first edition included neither the killing of the station guards nor the hangings, except for a brief allusion. These two episodes appear only in the 2nd or the 5th editions. Beaubatie, that work, even though it is not without interest, is mostly a justification of the decisions of the FTP and of the French Communist Party. Actually, that was a trial run. She was offered a chance to join the French Resistance and she accepted.

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The local faction was the Mithridate, one of the most important underground networks of more than 1, agents who gathered military intelligence in support of the Allied operations. Since Odette was fluent in English and French, she soon became a liaison and an interpreter for radio operators of the Resistance. Odette often rode her bicycle through enemy lines with a transmitter hidden in her basket.

The Germans did not suspect a young girl on a bicycle, at least not for while. One fateful day, Odette volunteered to hide the radio transmitter that her unit was using in her home. Somehow the Gestapo found out and arrested her. She was taken to Toulouse and, for days, was interrogated repeatedly. She could not communicate with anyone, but her mother was determined to find her. She made innumerable calls to people she knew in authority: French, Swiss, American, and even German. In a week, as the Nazis were about to ship Odette off to Germany, her mother was able to get her released through the influence of the Swiss Legation.

She moved out of France since she was known there. However, she continued to work for the Resistance until the war ended, which fortunately came soon. In , she returned to the US. Their goal was to land it in Normandy in , the 50th Anniversary of D-Day, where it was preserved as a memorial to those who provided supplies for the invasion.