Crimes of War deals with a true life SS massacre of a small town in France during World War II called Oradour-sur-Glane.
“The drama here was that some of the perpetrators were French citizens—Alsatians drafted into the SS. They were put on trial in 1953 for their part—under duress, it was claimed—in the horrendous killings and destruction of that peaceful village,” said historian/author Neil Rolde.
During the Spanish Inquisition many Cathars where tortured and murdered in the same region where the SS massacre took place, echoing the past.
“Neil tells this compelling story as if he were there—a silent witness through the centuries,” said Paul Cornell du Houx, of Polar Bear & Company, the book’s publisher. Specific historical figures make appearances in the story.
In the novel Professor Eugene Desfosseux, a historian and self-taught ventriloquist, conjures amid the ruins figures from deep into his past and records the interviews and interrogations in a tale that epitomizes what this or any other war crime might encompass—including his own daily life of pleasures, romance and memories inflamed to a vengeance that would destroy his life’s work.
“Thus it brings up the question of what war crimes entail and thus the plural in the title. Crimes of war are still a universal problem,” said Neil.
Upon the order of President Charles de Gaulle the town was kept as the Nazis had left it in ruins and is a national monument.