Germany reopens probe into SS massacre in France

Investigation opens on six former SS men suspected of carrying out a World War Two massacre in France, in which 642 innocents were killed.

Swastika grafitti 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Swastika grafitti 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
DORTMUND, Germany - Germany is investigating six former SS men suspected of carrying out a World War Two massacre in France in which 642 men, women and children were locked in barns and a church, which were then blown up or set on fire, a prosecutor said on Tuesday.
German state prosecutor Andreas Brendel said he had reopened an inquiry into the 1944 massacre in Oradour-sur-Glane after new evidence emerged from files held by the former communist East Germany's Stasi secret police. He did not elaborate
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Brendel said that on June 10, 1944, four days after the Allies' D-Day landings that would liberate France, locals were rounded up in the market square, the men taken into barns and the women and children put in the church.
"On the order of the then-commander, hand grenades were thrown at the church and the men inside the barns were shot dead. Finally the church with the women and children inside was set on fire," Brendel told Reuters Television in an interview.
The prosecutor based in the western German town of Dortmund did not identify the six former German soldiers but said that in previous court proceedings relating to the case, which never reached a verdict, they had all denied the charges.
While some of the former SS soldiers, now in their 80s, were suspected of carrying out the killings directly, others were being investigated as accessories to murder for closing the roads or rounding up the villagers, he said.