Roger Godfrin is the only survivor of a massacre during which Nazi troops locked 643 citizens (including 500 women and children) inside a church and set fire to it on 10 June 1944 in Oradour sur Glane, France.
About 20 people decided to make themselves scarce when the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich arrived. They were people who had more reason than most to be suspicious, including some Jewish and French refugees. One such family, the Godfrins, had come to Oradour four years earlier after being evicted by German troops from their home in Lorraine.
Of the five Godfrin children, three of them (Jeanne, age 13, Pierette, 11, and Roger, 7) ,were in school that Saturday. All of them were warned by their parents to flee to the woods behind the cemetery if the Germans ever came to Oradour, but only Roger heeded that warning. Rather than going to the fairground
with his sisters, he escaped out of a back window of the school. After hiding for a while, Roger headed for the cemetery but was spotted and fired at by a German soldier.
Roger fell to the ground and played dead, not moving even when the soldier came right up to him and kicked him in the kidneys.
After the soldier had gone, Roger lay there for more than two hours before
fleeing over the river Glane to safety. Roger was the only child among a
mere 29 survivors that day.
Roger Godfrin was born on 4th August 1936 and died 11th February 2001. Ironically, the last survivor, Robert Hébras passed away on 11th February 2023.