On 10 June 1944, the village of Oradour-sur-Glane in Haute-Vienne in Nazi-occupied France was destroyed, when 642 of its inhabitants, including women and children, were massacred by a German Waffen-SS company. A new village was built nearby after the war, but French president Charles de Gaulle ordered the original maintained as a permanent memorial and museum.
In February 1944, the 2nd SS Panzer Division "Das Reich" was stationed in the Southern French town of Valence-d'Agen, north of Toulouse, waiting to be resupplied with new equipment and fresh troops. Following the D-Day invasion of Normandy in June 1944, the division was ordered north to help stop the Allied advance. One of its units was the 4th SS Panzer Grenadier Regiment . Its staff included regimental commander SS-Standartenführer Sylvester Stadler, SS-Sturmbannführer Adolf Diekmann commanding the 1st Battalion and SS-Sturmbannführer Otto Weidinger, Stadler's designated successor who was with the regiment for familiarisation. Command passed to Weidinger on 14 June.
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