Monday, June 10, 2019

Martyred village of Mouleydier

This post originally appeared on the Places & Faces blog for The Local Buzz.


A stream runs through the park in Mouleydier, one of France's martyred village.

With the 75th anniversary of D-Day this June, the focus will be on the heroic events that took place in Normandy. In the weeks that followed the landing on the Allied troops on France's northern coast, the long-awaited victory over the Nazis was fought. Throughout the summer of 1944, it is estimated that more than 400,000 soldiers on both sides were killed or wounded, according to the historyonthenet.com website. But the battles were not limited to Normandy. The village of Mouleydier in the Dordogne department suffered its own tragic loses.

This bridge in Mouleydier was the site of a Nazi assault on June 21, 1944.

Nestled on the Dordogne River 10 kilometers east of Bergerac, Mouleydier is a thriving village these days. Cafés, a pizza parlor and several boutiques supplement the usual businesses of daily life. I've visited here a few times to shop for unusual glass gifts at Verrerie de Douyo. However, until one recent day, I hadn't taken note of the memorial to this martyred village.

This plaza in Mouleydier is a memorial to the martyred village.



The village of Mouleydier was the site of a Nazi attack on June 21, 1944.

Few ancient buildings can be found in Mouleydier; the village
was burned down by the Nazis in June 1944.

The events happening 600 kilometers away on the beaches of Normandy inspired Resistance fighters to action throughout France in June 1944. In this area, prisoners at nearby Mauzac prison and internment camp rebelled, and acts of guerrilla-type activities against the Nazis increased. In Mouleydier, skirmishes on June 11 and 18 broke out involving Resistance members from Groupe Soleil, Alexis (Lot), Cerisier (Lalinde), Marsouin (Belvès), Loiseau (Prigonrieux), Bertrand (Eymet), Leduc (Beaumont), Pistolet (Bergerac), and from Saint-Germin-et-Mons.

A park honors the memory of the casualties inflicted upon the village
of Mouleydier in June 1944.

On June 21, 1944, the village was attacked by the 11th Panzer Division of the Wehrmacht. Mouleydier was looted and burned to the ground, and 22 members of the Resistance were killed. The neighboring village of Pressignac also was destroyed. According to the blog post titled prisons-cherche-midi-mauzac.com written by Jacky Tronel — a valuable source for this article — the total fatalities in and around Mouleydier numbered 65, and 175 buildings were destroyed.

In 1948, Mouleydier was one of 19 Dordogne villages to receive the Croix de Guerre 1939-1945 honor.

This park in Mouleydier is a tribute to the village that was destroyed
by Nazis in June 1944.

The village of Mouleydier honors the memory of the tragic events of  June 21, 1944 with a park situated on the site of the battle. Benches, flower boxes and a rushing stream provide a tranquil setting in which to reflect and relax. Several historical photographs are embedded in a park wall, and placards provide written accounts.

A photograph of Mouleydier shows the village before the June 21, 1944 attack.

Mouleydier is shown in a photograph taken after the village was looted
and burned in June 1944. 

According to a representative from Mouleydier's Mairie, no official observance will be held in in the village for the 75th anniversary on June 21, 2019, although a ceremony is planned in nearby Lalinde. I imagine that on this day the residents of Mouleydier will think about their village's past before returning their thoughts to the vibrant and beautiful village they call home.

Today the village of Mouleydier is thriving and beautiful. 

The village of Mouleydier is situated upstream from Bergerac on the Dordogne River.