The Massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane

McKay Smith visits his grandfather’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery for the first time.

In “The Massacre at Oradour-sur-Glane” (published in Foreign Policy online June 5, 2014), Justice Department lawyer and GW Law adjunct faculty member McKay Smith discusses a once classified account by U.S. Army Air Corps Lt. Raymond Murphy of the German execution of 642 civilian French men, women, and children during World War II. 

While the story of the mass murder is well known to historians of the war, the report provides what Mr. Smith thinks is the only eyewitness account and testimony by a U.S. service member. The discovery could help inform the case against a former SS soldier indicted in Germany in January 2014 for allegedly assisting in the murder of 25 people at the massacre.  

As if the historical significance of this find were not sufficiently compelling, there is an added twist: Mr. Smith unearthed the account while conducting document research into the life of his grandfather, Lt. Raymond Murphy, a man he never met and Mr. Smith’s own father never knew.

Mr. Smith teaches a national security law seminar on government oversight and investigations at GW Law.