TULLE, France, June 9 (UPI) -- The city of Tulle in south-central France Wednesday commemorated the 60th anniversary of a World War II massacre when 99 people were hanged by the Nazis.
Four days after D-day, on June 9, 1944, the German 2nd SS Das Reich division, on its way to Normandy, rounded up citizens of the French town in retaliation against local resistance groups who had attacked German troops.
Ninety-nine men were hung from balconies and lampposts, while others were deported to Germany, never to return.
French Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin offered messages of peace to the families of victims and residents reported Radio France International.
"We want to keep alive the memory of these 99 men executed without reason one afternoon in June. We want to keep alive the memory of the 149 inhabitants of Tulle sent to Dachau, of which 101 disappeared," said Francois Holland, mayor of Tulle.
On June 6, Holland, who is also the first secretary of the French Socialist Party, sent an "indirect invitation" to the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to attend the memorial in Tulle. Those who remember the massacre were divided on whether or not to make peace with the Germans.
"I want to be able to reconcile," said Bengasi Mei, 93, who was deported. "But those who assisted in this massacre can not be pardoned."