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Ardenne Abbey

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Ardennes Abbey 1

The Abbey in September 2006, after extensive restoration.

Ardenne Abbey, or "l'Abbaye d'Ardenne", is the site of a Premonstratensian monastery in Saint-Germain-la-Blanche-Herbe, near Caen, France, containing a chapel built in 1121 and other medieval buildings.

The Abbey was used as an observation post by the Germans in the Battle of Normandy, and was heavily damaged by Allied forces. As a result, much of the Abbey visible today has been rebuilt or restored. The Abbey is most notorious for being the site of a massacre of prisoners of war during World War II.

World War II

Ardennes Abbey 2

A memorial to the executed Canadian soldiers in the garden of the Abbey.

During the Battle of Normandy, Ardenne Abbey was the location of the headquarters of SS-Panzergrenadier Regiment 25, commanded by SS-Standartenführer Kurt Meyer. On 7 June 1944, eighteen captured Canadian soldiers of the North Nova Scotia Highlanders and the 27th Canadian Armoured Regiment (Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment) were taken to the abbey and killed by members of the 12th SS Panzer Division.

The Regina Rifle Regiment liberated the abbey the following month, at which time evidence of the atrocity was discovered. The remains of the soldiers were eventually moved to the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery. At the end of the war, Kurt Meyer was convicted on three counts of war crimes, including responsibility for the killings at Ardenne Abbey. Meyer denied knowing anything about the murders, and no contradictory eyewitness evidence was presented at trial. Meyer served nine years in prison before release in 1954.

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Coordinates: 49°11′47″N 0°24′50″W / 49.1964917°N 0.4138917°W / 49.1964917; -0.4138917

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