Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Martyrs of Tulle

A few nights ago, in a dream, I was closely examining a medallion which was hanging by a length of tulle (the gauzy fabric used in wedding veils, etc.). There were symbols on the medallion, but I couldn't recall them very well after waking up, so I decided to focus more on the tulle. An internet search of the word "tulle" led me to the website of the city of Tulle, in France. The fabric called "tulle" had been named for its city of origin.

A link on the Tulle website led to information on the "Martyrs of Tulle", a story I had not been aware of before. On June 9 and 10, 1944, during the World War II Nazi occupation of France, a terrible event took place in Tulle. The story is not well-known outside of France. A skirmish of some sort had taken place near Tulle, and 40 German soldiers had been killed. The Nazis were furious and marched into Tulle to exact revenge. They ordered all the men of the town to line up, and then announced that they were going to hang 120 men of Tulle. The Nazis went down the line, choosing the men that would die-----mostly they chose the ones who had dirty shoes, because that gave indication of being part of the French Resistance. The Nazis then proceeded to hang the men, from lampposts and trees along the streets of Tulle. They stopped the hangings after the 99th man because they ran out of rope.....

I know we've all heard countless stories of Nazi cruelty, and this only adds another one to the grim list, but what a devastating thing for a small town to endure. The only book written about this event was authored by an eyewitness who had to watch his son be hanged. The book has never been translated from French, evidently.

Anyway, I felt this was an interesting bit of history to pass along about an event which occurred exactly 63 years ago.

What are those quotes about the importance of remembering history? "If we forget history, we are bound to repeat it." And, "History is our memory", or something like that.

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