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WWII memorial wall defaced at site of Nazi massacre in French village

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By Pascale Davies  & AFP, AP
Graffiti tags are seen on the lettering at the entrance to the Centre of Oradour sur Glane Memory.
Graffiti tags are seen on the lettering at the entrance to the Centre of Oradour sur Glane Memory.   -   Copyright  PASCAL LACHENAUD/AFP or licensors

Vandals scrawled graffiti on a memorial wall in a village that was the site of the biggest massacre of French civilians by the Nazis during World War II, calling the atrocity a "lie".

President Emmanuel Macron promised on Saturday that "everything would be done" to find those responsible.

The graffiti on the Centre for Remembrance in Oradour-Sur-Glane, near Limoges in central France, was discovered on Friday.

The word "Lie" was scrawled on the wall above the crossed-out words "Martyr Village".

"When the word martyr is crossed out and the word liar and the name of a revisionist is put in its place, then you understand why we are shocked," said Philippe Lacroix, mayor of Oradour-Sur-Glane.

STR/Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.
The phantom village was left in the condition it was found after WW II atrocity.STR/Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

On June 10, 1944, troops from the SS "Das Reich" division brutally killed 642 villagers. They were herded into barns and a church before the town was set on fire.

The massacre occurred four days after the Allied D-Day landings in Normandy. The killings were believed to have been ordered in retaliation for the kidnapping of a German soldier by the French Resistance.

A new village was built but the ruins of the old town have been left untouched with burned-out cars and abandoned buildings as a testimony to Nazi horrors.

An investigation has been opened to find those responsible.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin denounced the “abject filth” in a Friday night tweet while Prime Minister Jean Castex said the graffiti “dirties the memory of our martyrs.”