Paris, 9 August 2018

In a letter to Norwegian Airlines Chairman and CEO, Bjorn Kjos, the Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr.Shimon Samuels, lamented that “the pleasure of our flight on Norwegian was dashed by an article in ‘N’, your in-flight magazine.”

The article, entitled 'Import a Community', speaks of the resettlement of migrants across Europe and beyond under the rubric 'Visit Lost Towns', intriguingly includes the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane,”... “The thumbnail depiction is a disconcerting banalization of one of the most brutal atrocities of World War II.”

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The article in "N" in-flight magazine and the side-rubric
"Visit the Lost Towns" mentioning Oradour-sur-Glane.

Samuels noted your statement: ‘Destroyed in 1944, the ruins of this French town were left standing as a memorial to its 642 inhabitants who died. Today it’s a sombre attraction and museum’.”

The Centre stressed that, “in reality, this village in Nazi-occupied France, was destroyed on 10 June 1944 as a reprisal against the French resistance. The Waffen SS massacred 642 villagers, of which 247 women and 205 children were burned alive in the church - a baby was found crucified. 109 men were shot in the legs. As they lay alive, the Germans sprayed them with kerosene and set them alight.”

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Samuels added: “In June 1994, on the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, President François Mitterrand was to invite President Bill Clinton and Queen Elizabeth II to lay a wreath at the Deutscher Soldatenfriedhof (German Military Cemetery) in La Cambe”... “Our Centre exposed an outrage: La Cambe, in Normandy, is the burial site of SS Sturmbannfuhrer Adolf Diekmann, the most senior officer at the Oradour massacre.”

Samuels argued, “the 642 martyrs of Oradour-sur-Glane did not just die, to perhaps be replaced by today’s refugees... In fact, we do not understand the inclusion of Oradour for such a project.”

The Centre suggested that, “the next edition of ‘N’ present the true story as an exercise for young and old passengers to remember.”