Germany: Pax Christi Germany commemorates the 75th anniversary of the massacre in Maillé

 

4/9/19 -  Pax Christi Germany took part with a small commemorative delegation for the 75th anniversary of the Nazi massacre in Maillé. Discussions took place with the mayor of Maillé, Bernard Eliaume, and the head of the memorial, Romain Taillefait, as well as with survivors, relatives and witnesses. These discussions were extremely intense for all involved and still burden the soul. Official speeches from the German side are still not possible in Maillé today. On the other hand, about 20 eyewitnesses had agreed to tell their personal survival stories to the members of the German delegation. There had never been such an encounter in Maillé.

We learned here how burdensome the past is today for the victims and the eyewitnesses. This shows how important the continuation of this reconciliation work is. The delegation included the Spiritual Advisory Councils of the German pax christi section Horst-Peter Rauguth and the pax christi diocesan association Berlin Reinhard Herbolte, Prof. dr. Friedhelm Boll from the pax christi Scientific Advisory Council, who is also a member of the initiative "Against Forgetting. For Democracy e.V.", Barbara Häussler from Würzburg and Susanne Deufel-Herbolte from Berlin.

In Maillé (central France, near Tours) a cruel massacre of the SS unit Götz von Berlichingen had taken place on August 25, 1944. This massacre, after Oradour sur Glan, was the second most serious civilian death in France. The memory was largely lost after the reconstruction of the village, because France turned to the liberation of the capital Paris, which took place on the same day. There was no room for the mourning of Maillé in the joy of liberation. There were 124 people, mostly women, children and old people aged between 3 months and 89 years murdered in a hideous way, because the SS believed they had to take revenge for a skirmish with the French resistance. While the Wehrmacht cordoned off all access to Maillé, a unit of the Waffen-SS successively combed through the houses of the village, killed people and animals in a cruel manner and then set fire to the houses. Afterwards, the village was additionally bombarded with 80 mortar shells, leaving only eight out of sixty houses unscathed. Only 50 years later, a union Pour le souvenir de Maillé was formed, which today is headed by the last active witness, Serge Martin. 

 

Pax Christi Germany, France, World War II, Maille, reconciliation