France / Monument
On 2 September 1944, 36 civilians were executed by retreating German troops in the hamlets of Gard and La Junière (located in the municipalities of Étreux and La Neuville-lès-Dorengt in the Aisne). Today, a monument is dedicated to commemorating them.
On 2 September 1944, a massacre took place in the hamlets of Gard and La Junière, in the municipalities of Étreux and La Neuville-lès-Dorengt. The previous day, a group of FFI (French Forces of the Interior), had attacked a German column a few kilometres away in Boué. During the massacre the next day, 36 civilians were killed in retaliation.
The ambush on 1 September 1944 by the Resistance fighters caused several victims on the German side: two drivers were wounded and two soldiers killed. In addition, a German truck disabled by the gunfire was seized and hidden in a nearby barn. The next day, a large formation of heavily armed SS and German soldiers, divided into three groups, surrounded the municipality of Étreux. It was the discovery of the German vehicle hidden the day before that triggered their anger and, consequently, led to the massacre. From 9:00am onwards, many inhabitants were shot or bayoneted, and houses were set on fire with grenades.
Another formation, positioned at La Junière, took a group of eight men and the local schoolteacher hostage. The nine villagers were shot. Here also, houses were set on fire and other executions were carried out.
At 11:00am, a large part of the able-bodied men of these hamlets (Gard and La Junière), about thirty men, were rounded up. However, they were saved by the arrival of the liberating American troops.
Red Cross personnel collected the bodies of the victims of the massacre in order to identify them. In total, 36 people were massacred and 25 houses in the hamlets were destroyed. To pay tribute to them, a monument was erected after the war in Étreux. Inscribed are the words: "To the victims of 2 September 1944, massacred by the retreating Germans" . The names of the 36 civilian victims are engraved on it.
A plaque was also installed at 8 rue Colbert-Quentin, La Junière, in memory of the nine victims living in the hamlet.
Rue du Deux Septembre, Étreux, 02510