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This work looks at the Nazi massacre at the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, in 1944, and at how since 1946 the French State has preserved the entire ruins of the village. The 40 acres of crumbling buildings became France's "village martyr", set up as a monument to French suffering under the German occupation, and is now a tourist destination. Sarah Farmer investigates the prominance of the massacre in French understanding of a national experience. Through interviews with survivors, and research, the history of a shattering event and its memorial afterlife are pieced together. Complemented with photographs of the village, this dissection of France's national memory addresses the personal and private way which, through rememberance, people come to terms with loss.
Sarah Farmer is Associate Professor of History, University of Iowa, and author of Oradour: Arret sur memoire, published in France in 1994.