Silent Village: The Story of Oradour-sur-Glane

Robert Pike

Notice Period:
Short (maybe less than one month's notice)
Paid: £80-100 and reasonable expenses. Special rate for Probus clubs.
4th April 2024

On 10 June 1944, a French community was chosen for extermination. 643 men, women and children were murdered in a single day. This is their story.

My second book, Silent Village, is about the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, the scene of an infamous massacre by the SS in June 1944. President De Gaulle ordered the preservation of the village in 1945, and it remains as a memorial to France's suffering during its occupation by Germany. Many thousands of visitors go there every year. I am now a member of a small team of academic researchers based in France, Germany, Spain, and the UK working on the ongoing transformation of that museum.

This talk is about the people of Oradour-sur-Glane, of whom 643 died on 10 June 1944. It tells the story through the eyes of the villagers rather than through the eyes of the perpetrators, and recounts the years leading up to and after the massacre. It is based on my own interviews with survivors and a close re-examination of contemporary witness testimonies from the weeks that followed the event. It was featured in the national press when first released last year as well as History Today and several other magazines.

"One of the most astonishing achievements in the historiography of Occupied France [...] a triumph of detailed research and historical insight and empathy. A brilliant reconstruction of lives and relationships before the horror struck." Rod Kedward, author of In Search of the Maquis

"Based on eye-witness accounts, Robert Pike’s moving book vividly depicts the lives of the villagers who were caught up in the tragedy of Oradour-sur-Glane and brings their experiences to our attention for the first time" Hanna Diamond, author of Fleeing Hitler

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About Robert Pike

Robert Pike is a professional historian whose latest book, Silent Village, about the tragic events at Oradour-sur-Glane, was first published in the Spring of 2021. It is about to be published in France. He wrote his first book, Defying Vichy, after interviewing former members of the French Resistance in the south-west of France. He is a graduate of History and French from the University of Exeter, with a Masters from the University of Cardiff.Currently he is completing doctoral research on rural resistance in Vichy France as part of an ESRC-funded PhD at Cardiff University.

He is a former teacher with a wealth of experience of public speaking. He has given talks at the Gloucester History Festival, the Imperial War Museum, for the Historical Association, WW2 TV and many other events. ​ Robert lives in Worcestershire with his wife and two children.

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