By Betty Henderson • 18 May 2023 • 12:00
Historians are preparing to excavate wartime graves in Meymac.
Photo credit: René Hourdry / Wikimedia Commons
IN a stunning revelation, a French ex-Resistance fighter has broken a silence spanning over 80 years, unveiling a hidden chapter of World War II.
Edmond Réveil, now 98, the last surviving member of the local FTP Resistance group, came forward to disclose the execution of approximately 40 German soldiers by the French Resistance in June 1944.
The French ex-soldier spoke to authorities in 2019, but the news broke on Tuesday, May 16, as local media revealed that plans are underway to excavate the site near Meymac in search of their remains.
In a recorded testimony with French authorities, Réveil recounted the heart-wrenching events that unfolded when his detachment received orders to kill the German prisoners they were escorting. While some French fighters willingly volunteered, Réveil was among those who refused to partake.
Forced to dig their own graves on a sweltering day, the German prisoners met their tragic end, with the lingering scent of blood etched in Réveil’s memory. This dark secret remained concealed for 75 years until Réveil, burdened by the weight of his knowledge, decided to reveal the truth.
French and German historians have validated Réveil’s account, shedding light on the aftermath of the Tulle uprising and subsequent German reprisals. The search for the executed soldiers’ graves is set to commence, with the German War Graves Commission preparing to undertake the task.
Réveil hopes that the fallen soldiers can now remembered, their families informed of their resting place, and a small memorial erected at the site to honour their lives.
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