The ruins that stand as a reminder of one of France’s darkest days are in need of saving, a local association has warned.
The massacre in Oradour-sur-Glane (Haute-Vienne) on June 10, 1944, killed 643 people as soldiers from the Waffen SS destroyed and set fire to the village.
For almost 80 years, the site has been preserved in its state of destruction, with the help of state funds, as the village is a listed historical monument.
Benoît Sadry, president of ANFMOG, an association for the families of victims, said: “Urgent intervention is required, otherwise we risk losing entire sections of the village.
We believe it is the village as a whole that allows us to understand the scale of this atrocity.”
Regular work is undertaken to prevent buildings being overrun by vegetation, and €485,000 has already been allocated to restoring the church, but the group recently met the president’s advisers to request urgent assistance.
They hope to launch a national fundraising campaign in the coming months.
The walls need to be waterproofed, and certain areas might require external support to stop them collapsing.
It is all the more important since the death of the last survivor in February.
“It is the only example in Europe where a whole village has been preserved,” said Mr Sadry.
“We are losing the memory of the people, we mustn’t lose the memory of the stones.”