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Germany opens new inquiry into WWII Oradour massacre in France

German investigators have opened a new inquiry into the massacre of 642 people by SS troops in the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane.

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French President Francois Hollande shakes hands with WWII veterans today, June 6th, at a ceremony in France for the 68th anniversary of D-Day. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

German investigators have opened a new inquiry into the massacre of 642 people by SS troops in the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane.

Evidence has been uncovered in archived files from East Germany's Stasi secret police about six soldiers — then 18 or 19 years old — who are still alive, reported BBC News. East Germany refused to extradite the six for the original trial of surviving SS men in France after the war.

Investigators traveled to Oradour-sur-Glane — with its ruins preserved just as they were after the massacre — to look into where different SS units were deployed and to hear from witnesses and survivors.

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In the 1950s, 60 soldiers were brought to trial and 20 were convicted, but all were later released.

On June 10, 1944, 642 residents of Oradour-sur-Glane were killed by SS police, including 400 women and children, according to Fox News. The women and children were forced into a church, which was attacked with hand grenades before being set on fire, while men were shot inside a barn that also later went up in flames.

"It is a very strange moment to see German officials here 68 years later," said Robert Hebras, 87, one of only six to escape the attack on his village, noted the Daily Mail. "But I applaud what they are doing and pray there is still time to bring to justice any of the monsters still alive did this to us."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/france/130130/germany-opens-new-inquiry-wwii-oradour-massacre-france