A company of the Royal Norfolk Regiment, trapped in a cowshed, surrendered to the 2nd Infantry Regiment, SS 'Totenkopf' (Death's Head) Division under the command of 28 year old SS Obersturmfuhrer Fritz Knoechlein. Marched to a group of farm buildings, they were lined up in the meadow along side the barn wall. When the 99 prisoners were in position, two machine guns opened fire killing 97 of them. Knoechlein then ordered a group of his mem to fix bayonets and stab or shoot to death any who showed signs of life.
The bodies were then buried in a shallow pit in front of the barn. Two managed to escape, Privates Albert Pooley and William O'Callaghan of the Royal Norfolk Regiment emerged from the slaughter wounded but alive. When the SS troops moved on, the two wounded soldiers were discovered, after having hid in a pig-sty for three days and nights, by Madame Duquenne-Creton and her son Victor who had left their farm when the fighting started. She then cared for them till captured again by another, much more friendly, Wehrmacht unit to spend the rest of the war as P.O.W.s.
In 1942, the bodies of those executed were exhumed by the French authorities and reburied in the local churchyard now part of the Le Paradis War Cemetery. After the war, the massacre was investigated by the War Crimes Investigation Unit and Knoechlein was traced and arrested. During the war he had been awarded three Knight's Crosses.
Tried before a War Crimes Court in the No. 5 Court of the Curiohaus, Altona, in Hamburg, he was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging and on January 28, 1949, the sentence was carried out. Married with four children, his wife attended the trial every day. (On May 27, 1970 a memorial plaque was affixed to the barn wall and unveiled by Madame Creton in the presence of members of the Dunkirk Veterans Association)
Film from Anglia News Dunkirk 70th anniversary Le Paradis Massacre: 1:35