Detecting.org.uk Home >
Nazi Gold >
Gold of the Oradour-sur-Glane Massacre
As an Allied attack on Europe loomed, the local French
Resistance increased its activities in order to occupy the
German forces and hinder communications.
2nd SS Panzer Division 'Das Reich' was ordered to make
its way across country to the fighting in Normandy. Along
the way it came under constant attack and sabotage from the
French Resistance. Allegedly, SS soldiers were further
angered by finding atrocities committed by some resistance;
in particular, a German ambulance in which all the wounded
had been killed and the driver and assistants tied to the
cab before the vehicle was set on fire. No record of this
alleged incident exists in German records.
Early on the morning of June 10 Sturmbannf�hrer Adolf Diekmann
reported to Sturmbannf�hrer Otto Weidinger that he had been
approached by two French civilians who claimed that a high
German official was being held by the French Resistance
guerrilla, the maquis, in Oradour. That day he was to be
executed and publicly burnt amidst celebrations. The two
French civilians also stated that the whole population was
working with the maquis and that high ranking leaders
were there at the moment. At about the same time the SD in
Limoges reported that their local informers had reported a
maquis headquarters in Oradour. The high German
official was believed to be Sturmbannfuhrer Helmut Kampfe, a
personal friend of both Diekmann and Weidinger who had been
captured by the maquis the day before. Kampfe was
never found and is listed in SS records as 'Missing in
southern France in action against terrorists'.
On June 10 the 1st battalion of the Waffen-SS (Der
F�hrer) regiment, led by Sturmbannf�hrer Otto Dickmann,
encircled the town of Oradour-sur-Glane and ordered all the
inhabitants to congregate in a public fairground near the
village centre, ostensibly to examine people's papers. All
the women and children were taken to the church, while the
village was looted. Meanwhile, the men were taken to six
barns where machine gun nests were already in place.
According to the account of a survivor, the soldiers began
shooting at them, aiming for their legs so that they would
die more slowly. Once the victims were no longer able to
move, the soldiers covered their bodies with kindling and
set the barns on fire. Only five men escaped; 197 died
Having finished with the men, the soldiers then entered
the church and put an incendiary device in place. After it
was ignited, the surviving women and children tried to flee
from the doors and windows but were met with machine gun
fire. Only one woman survived; another 240 women and 205
children died in the mayhem. Another small group of about
twenty villagers had fled Oradour as soon as the soldiers
appeared. That night the remainder of the village was razed.
A few days later the survivors were allowed to bury the
On January 12, 1953, a trial began against the surviving
65 of the about 200 soldiers before a military tribunal in
Bordeaux. Only 21 of them were present (many living in
Germany would not be extradited). Among them were 7 Germans,
the 14 others were Alsatians, i.e. French nationals who were
members of the SS Division 'Reich'. All but one of them
claimed to have been drafted into the Waffen-SS against
their will (the so-called malgr�-nous). The SS records do
not show that any such drafting took place. It is most
likely that the Alsatians were Nazi sympathisers and
This caused huge protest in Alsace, forcing the French
authorities to split the process in two separate ones
according to the nationality of the defendants. On February
11 20 defendants were found guilty. Continuing uproar
(including calls for autonomy) in Alsace pressed the French
parliament to pass an amnesty law for all malgr�-nous
on February 19, and the convicted Alsatians were released
shortly afterwards. This in turn caused bitter protest in
the Limousin region.
By 1958 all the German defendants had been released as
well. General Karl-Heinz Lammerding of the Das Reich
division, who had given the orders for the measures against
the Resistance, died in 1971 after a successful
entrepreneurial career, never having been indicted.
The last trial against a former Waffen-SS member took
place in 1983. Shortly before, in the GDR the former SS-Obersturmf�hrer
Heinz Barth had been tracked down. Barth participated in the
Oradour massacre as a platoon leader in the regiment 'Der
F�hrer', commanding 45 soldiers. He was amongst other war
crimes charged with having given orders to shoot 20 men in a
garage. Barth was sentenced to life imprisonment by the 1st
senate of the city court Berlin. He was released from prison
in the re-unified Germany in 1997.
After the war, General Charles de Gaulle decided that the
village would never be rebuilt. Instead, it would remain as
a memorial to the cruelty of Nazi occupation. In 1999,
President Jacques Chirac dedicated a visitors' centre, the
centre de la m�moire, in Oradour-sur-Glane and named the
site a Village Martyr.
The Oradour-sur-Glane Massacre was one of the great
horrors of world war two. 642 unarmed men, women and
children were slaughtered
by the Der F�hrer
regiment of 2nd SS Panzer Division, Das Reich led by
Sturmbannf�hrer Adolf Diekmann
The Alleged Gold of Oradour
In 1988 a new spin was put on the story of the
Oradour-sur-Glane massacre when a British man named Robin
Mackness released a book telling the story of how he went
from working in a comfortable job for a Swiss bank to an
unpleasant prison cell in France.
In 1982 Mackness was asked by a colleague at the bank,
Jamie Baruch , to meet a man named Raoul Denis  who had
a large quantity of gold that he wanted to move to
Raoul Denis claimed to be one of the few survivors of the
Oradour-sur-Glane massacre, but he told a story very
different to the widely excepted history. According to
Raoul, the massacre was not a reprisal for the death of a
high ranking German officer but was an attempt by Das Reich
to recover a shipment of gold which had been stolen from a
convoy that had been attacked by members of the French
Raoul claimed that he was a member of the resistance cell
that had ambushed the German convoy and that he and a German
soldier were the only survivors of the ensuing fire fight,
the soldier escaped leaving Raoul with what was left of the
Raoul found one of the trucks in the convoy piled high
with filing cabinets and heavy boxes which contained gold
bars. Realising that he was alone with no transport he
buried the gold in the corner of a nearby field and set what
was left of the convoy ablaze.
The Germans were quick to notice the loss of the gold
shipment and sent troops to the area of the ambush and to
the nearest village - Oradour-sur-Glane.
The troops rounded up the villagers, examined their
identity papers and then began interrogations to try and
learn the location of the gold, but Raoul was the only
person who knew where it was and he was not in the village
at this time. The German troops, unable to get the locals to
tell them where the gold was, massacred the towns
Raoul claimed that he recovered the gold from the field at
the end of the war, used some of it set a business and hid
Raoul wanted Mackness to smuggle the the gold from France
to Switzerland, after hearing his story Mackness agreed and
loaded 20 bars of gold into his car. On route to
Switzerland, Mackness was pulled over by French Customs
officials and his car was searched. He managed to escape
only to be caught by armed officers in a nearby village, a
photograph in his book shows a number of bullet holes in the
BMW 735i Mackness claims to have been driving at the time of
Mackness refused to name Raoul in court and was sentenced to
18 months imprisonment and fined 8 million Francs (reduced
to 80,000f on appeal). His employers, 'BanqueL�man',
refused to cooperate with the French authorities and
basically left him rot. The bank did, however, refund Raoul
the full value of the gold the French had seized.
Mackness claims that Raoul died of cancer before his
release from prison in 1984. After he was released Mackness
contacted Raoul's family who denied any knowledge of what
had happened to him and, I assume, denied all knowledge of
Why did Raoul claim that the gold had originated from
the Oradour-sur-Glane Massacre?
The most obvious answer to this is that the gold did
genuinely have a Nazi/SS pedigree and he needed to explain
how he got it without admitting its actual history.
Gold bars have markings and serial numbers, markings and serial numbers can be
traced, what if the current holders of the gold tried to
sell it but the markings and serial numbers proved that the original owners were
the Reichsbank, circa 1944, or even worse, that the bars
could be traced directly back to the SS. You would need a
solid cover story.
It might seem to many a small justice that the
descendants of the very few survivors of the massacre still
had the gold - they had paid for it in blood so why
shouldn't they be allowed to keep it?
What is the 'Oradour gold's' true history?
I certainly don't doubt its Nazi vintage given that much
of it bore Reichsbank stamps, the gold could
have been from one of the many caches of gold that where
hidden as the 'thousand year Reich' crumbled. It may have
been recovered soon after the war ended or even many years
Although I'm not a betting man, I'd lay money on the gold
having been stored in Spain. Why Spain? The simple answer
is that after the war so many high ranking Nazi's settled
there, including the infamous 'Commando Extraordinaire' Otto
Above: SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny, once
called 'the most dangerous man in Europe' lived out the rest
of his life in Spain after being cleared of war crimes. He
died in a car crash, or from cancer (depending on source) in 1975, a multi millionaire.
These men were used to living the high life, not only
would they have needed money to establish themselves in a
new country (a house, a business etc.) but they would
certainly have also wanted the finer things in life that
they had become accustomed to as Hitler's trusted henchmen,
and by all accounts they got them.
Where did all that money come from? It doesn't take a
Spain was also believed by many intelligence officers to
be a major centre for the ODESSA network, indeed,
Otto Skorzeny was believed to have been the head of ODESSA
right up until his death in Spain in 1975.
Another possibility is that the gold had been in the
keeping of a stay behind in France since World War 2.
1) Robin Mackness uses pseudonyms for all the players in
story making fact checking very difficult or even
impossible, even the name of the bank he worked for, Banque L�man,
is a pseudonym.
2) 'Raoul Denis' is the only person to have told the gold
theft version of the story of the Oradour-sur-Glane
massacre. To my knowledge the gold connection has never
surfaced from any other source.
3) There seems to be no evidence that a German convoy was
ambushed anywhere near Oradour around the time period
claimed by Raoul - gold carrying or not.
I have no doubt Robin Mackness's story is the truth, that
is to say, Robin Mackness genuinely believed that what he
had been given was a piece of the 'Oradour gold.' I just
think his contact had used a cover story to dupe him into
helping him dispose of it. The 'Oradour' Nazi gold could still
be out there
- somewhere - but in my opinion it is nowhere near
Oradour-sur-Glane and had nothing to do with the massacre.
The whole story reeks of being what I have come to call a
'credibility prop,' not dissimilar to the
Rommel's Gold story.
Official View of the Gold Story
Most people connected to Oradour-sur-Glane view the gold
story with great suspicion and say that to attribute the
massacre to a theft is a great disrespect to the memories of
those that were killed. Officialdom lends no credence to
If you are connected to the village in some way, I would
love to hear what you have to say about Robin Mackness, the
gold story or 'Raoul Denis'
 Most sources give the Sturmbannf�hrer's name
as Otto Dickmann, however according to
the original SS documents say that Adolf Diekmann is the
correct name, 'Otto Dickmann' came in to widespread usage
due to inaccurate newspaper reporting.
 (i) At the time of writing (March 2006) investigators
from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Operation Last Chance are searching for Aribert
'Dr Death' Heim (the SS doctor of the Mauthausen concentration camp) who was,
at least until recently, known to be
living in Spain. Rumours suggest that he may have
relocated to Denmark.
(ii) L�on Joseph Marie Degrelle (June
1994) was a founder of
BelgianRexismwho joined the
Waffen SS(becoming a
leader of its Walloncontingent) and, after the
war, became a prominent figure in the
Holocaust revisionistmovements. Helped by the ODESSAnetwork, he was sheltered by Francisco Franco's Spainfrom Belgium, which had convicted him of
treason. He died in
San Antonio Park Hospital, Malaga, Spain in 1994.
 ODESSA (Organisation der ehemaligen SS-Angeh�rigen;
'The Organization of Former SS-Members') was/is a
Nazi-German fugitive network set up towards the end of World
War II by a group of SS officers, among whom were Martin
Bormann and Heinrich Himmler. This group's purpose was to
establish and facilitate secret escape routes, called
ratlines, out of Germany to South America and the Middle
East for hunted members. With alleged ties to Argentina,
Egypt, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and the Vatican, ODESSA
ostensibly operated out of Buenos Aires and helped Adolf
Eichmann, Josef Mengele, Erich Priebke, Aribert 'Dr Death' Heim and
many other war criminals find refuge in Latin America and
the Middle East.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Some of the information on this page is from
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia