MASSACRE AT ORADOUR by Robin Mackness

MASSACRE AT ORADOUR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A serendipitous investigative tract from an unlikely source--author Mackness, who at the time of his adventure worked in the world of high Swiss finance, an occupation which ultimately led him to stumble upon the solution to a WW II mystery. In 1982, the author was called upon by a banking colleague in Switzerland to meet a client in France and transport a package to a third party. But when Mackness learned that the package contained a half-million dollars in gold bullion, he insisted on being told of the gold's origins from the client (given the pseudonym Raoul) before continuing on with his mission, not realizing that he was about to happen upon an answer to the question why on June 10, 1944, Nazi SS soldiers had slaughtered the 612 villagers of Oradour-sur-Glane. Mackness learned that Raoul had been a member of the French Resistance. On the night of June 9, 1944, he had ambushed a Nazi convoy carrying a half-ton of gold amassed by Nazi officers attempting to ensure their postwar wealth. Alone, Raoul, after killing all of the convoy soldiers, had buried the gold in a wilderness plot. Nazi General Lammerding, furious over the loss of the gold, decided that the nearest village to the ambush spot, Oradour, was the logical hiding place for the abducted gold, and in a frenzied attempt to cower the villagers into revealing the gold's whereabouts, proceeded to have them all massacred. (Mackness was arrested, by the way, by French customs agents while carrying the gold and was imprisoned for 21 months for his refusal to reveal the source of the gold.) Though Mackness is an amateur at the art of history, his zest for the troth has led him to research his story exhaustively. All of the participants are dead (including Raoul, who died shortly after the transfer occurred), but it would appear that Mackness has conclusively laid this mystery to rest.

Pub Date: Feb. 20th, 1989
Publisher: Random House