Nazi Anti-Partisan Reprisals in Italy 1944

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gabriel pagliarani
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Post by gabriel pagliarani » 05 Nov 2003 15:57

c.g. wrote:.....(only in single cases) by the 1. Para division.

Which was the 1. Para division case? The hanging of 3 partisans in Piazza Giulio Cesare in Rimini ?

TH Albright
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Post by TH Albright » 05 Nov 2003 16:27

C. G. I hope you continue to post this line of research here! Well done. The leading perpetrators of the RFSS atrocities, Max Simon and Walter Reder, both were in command positions within SS-Totenkopfstandarte "Oberbayern" during the Polish campaign; Simon, in fact, was the regimental commander during this period. They were thus familiar, and responsible, for the mass execution of civilians perpetrated by their unit in the first weeks of September 1939. The experience of "exterminationist" counterinsurgency policies certainly has its origins in traditional German military anti-partisan doctrine dating from the Franco-Prussian War, perhaps even going back to Napoleonic doctrines used in Spain 1808-1814. The campaign in Russia married this "traditional" approach to Nazi racial and political goals which saw anti-partisan war as an opportunity to liquidate entire groups proscribed by the SS. I think this atmosphere permeated all German anti-partisan operational doctrine from 1941 onward, Heer included, since Heer and Police second-line units still often formed the bulk of forces used by HSSPF in the massive "sweeps". Although Simon and Reder's experiences in Russia were on the periphery of anti-partisan warfare, they were certainly hardened to the realities of all warfare in the East. Your Feldgendarmie from HG, and Otto Kahn (another Feldgendarmie from SS-Das Reich during its Russian stay), who was critical to the execution of the Oradour massacre in France, all got their formative experiences in the East.

Rob - wssob2
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Post by Rob - wssob2 » 05 Nov 2003 17:35

The experience of "exterminationist" counterinsurgency policies certainly has its origins in traditional German military anti-partisan doctrine dating from the Franco-Prussian War, perhaps even going back to Napoleonic doctrines used in Spain 1808-1814. The campaign in Russia married this "traditional" approach to Nazi racial and political goals which saw anti-partisan war as an opportunity to liquidate entire groups proscribed by the SS.


Tom - I think you're the man to write the book! ;) -- rob

c.g.
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Post by c.g. » 05 Nov 2003 23:35

To TH Albright and Rob:
Walter Reder:
I have researched – I believe quite thoroughfully – Reder’s biography for an article. Because of that I have some doubts regarding its participation to the Polish campaign in the ranks of TK Standarte Oberbayern. I infer from his SSO Personal file that during that time he was liaison Officer of the TK units to Himmler. He was however in France in 1940 as Adjutant to the 2nd Regiment (Le Paradis).
I don’t know much about the involvement of the TK Division in anti-partisan operations in the East (only the hints in Sydnor’s book). Do you know anything precise about it?
Anyway the two of them (Simon and Reder) were by large not the only officers serving with the division who had a TK or KL background.

To Gabriel Pagliarani:
The hanging of three young partisans in the main square of Rimini on August 16th 1944 was executed by members of the 162. (Turk) Infanterie-Division. It is one of the very few executions of Italians by German troops that has an original (German) photographic documentation that I know of.
1 Fallschirmjäger-Division killed civilians in several cases during ist retreat through Apulia and Lucania, like in Barletta (another of the cases with pictorial documentation), Cerignola, Matera, Rionero in Vulture in most cases by hand of the Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 1. The same regiment is accounted for the shooting of 123 civilians (34 children under 10 years, 22 older men over 60, 53 women or younger girls and 14 young men) in the area of Pietransieri on 21st November 1943, practically in no-man’s land between the front lines. More executions of civilians by paratroopers of this division were committed in the area of Chieti in December 1943 and January 1944, later on near Verona (Chiampo area, esp. San Pietro Mussolino) and in the Mugello (Padulivo), north of Florence in July 1944. Massacres were perpetrated by paratroopers (unknown unit) in Veneto in April-early May 1945 (Pedescala, Settecá).

TH Albright
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Post by TH Albright » 06 Nov 2003 17:28

C.G. Thanks for the info on Reder...the NARA personnel file had him serving in SS-TK "Obb" for that period, but as a Liason to Himmler's HQ during Sep 1939 that might not be reflected in his personnel assignment; his "home" may still have been "Obb" but he was "detailed" to Himmler's HQ perhaps. If Reder was a liason, that made him fully aware of the nature and scope of all SS-TV operations in Poland.... On the SS-TK division in Russia, I have Syndor and thats about it. Since the division was almost always committed to desperate front-line ops in Russia, my guess is that it did not participate in any of the rear-area HSSPF-type anti-partisan sweeps ala the 1st SS Inf. and SS Kav. Brigades. Some rear area elements of the division could have, though. However, we can safely assume that, like all front-line units in Russia. it did detail units to combat partisans and "stragglers" in its immediate area; usually this was directed by the feldgendarmie elements of the division.

Other officers of SS-RFSS Division w/ SS-TV experience


HOHENESTER, PIUS (MOTOR TRANSPORT/MAINT OFFICER 16 SS DIV) SS-TV OBB 1937-38

MAYR, KURT-FRITZ (IIa: 16 SS DIV) SS-TV OBB 1933-39

SACK, GERHARD (BATTERY COMMANDER SS-ARTILLERIE REGIMENT 16) SS-TV SACHSEN 1934-35

ENDRES, HANS (BATTALION KD.) SS-TV THURINGEN 1938

HAUCK, LEANDER (DIVISIONAL SUPPLY OFFICER) SS-TV OBB 1934-39

PLOETZ, KARL (DIVISIONAL SUPPLY TROOPS) SS-TV OSTFRIESLAND AND
BRANDENBERG 1933-39

DALLINGER, MAX (KD II/SS PG REG 35)
SS-TV OBERBAYERN 1935-37
SS-TV OSTFRIESLAND 1937
SS-TV BRANDENBERG 1937-39

CONRAD, SIEGFRIED (DIVISIONAL IVa) SS-TV THURINGEN 1938-39

gabriel pagliarani
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Post by gabriel pagliarani » 07 Nov 2003 21:14

c.g. wrote:....To Gabriel Pagliarani:
The hanging of three young partisans in the main square of Rimini on August 16th 1944 was executed by members of the 162. (Turk) Infanterie-Division. It is one of the very few executions of Italians by German troops that has an original (German) photographic documentation that I know of...

One of those 3 partisans was a far cousin of mine. (He was the son of the cousin of my own Grandad) He had my own surname, you can control. I have never seen those photos. Could you enclose some of those without violating the rules of the Forum? I'll be personally grateful to you.
Gabriel Pagliarani.

c.g.
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Post by c.g. » 07 Nov 2003 22:31

Hi Gabriel,
one of three partisans hanged in Rimini was in fact Adelio Pagliarani. The others Luigi Nicolò and Mario Cappelli. They were captured on August 14th 1944 and hanged two day later on the main square of Rimini which is now called Piazza dei tre martiri.
Under the circumstances and since the pictures have anyway already been published in a book I will of course send you copies of the photos but you must be aware that they are quite disturbing documents. I'll send you a PM on this issue anyway.
C.G.

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 07 Nov 2003 22:46

I take it that the three partisans executed in Rimini were in fact persons captured while engaged in acts of violence against German forces, ie illegal combatabts to use the current US-speak.

If so, that was not a case of killing innocent civilians in revenge for partisan attacks. It was a punishment of actual perpetrators.

I think a clear distinction needs to be made between the punishment of illegal combatants and acts of violence against non-combatant civilian populations as a reprisal for the actions of illegal combatants.

c.g.
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Post by c.g. » 07 Nov 2003 23:22

The reference to the Rimini case is the answer to a question posed here in this thread. If Gabriel Pagliarani would have sent to me a PM he would have got his answer by that way.
On the problem of the irregular combatants I would like to point to the fact that German armed forces, like other armies as well, had a policy of killíng partisans captured carrying arms or identified by a uniform or a distinctive sign (like a red star for communist partisans) and especially those who were leaders of the groups. From a formal point of view this is a violation to the Rules of warfare that were accepted by the German armies as stated for instance in Kriegssonderstrafrechtsverordung of 17 August 1938. There at § 3 you will find a definition of Freischärler that correspond to the Haguer Rules of Land War. That means that according to the general policy, people fighting "irregularly" against German troops would have been killed anyway on the spot if cought with a gun or an uniform or a badge.
In fact this didn't always happen. In many cases in the West and in Italy captured partisans were put in front of military court (usually a Standgericht), tried, condemned to death and shot or hanged.
According to today's German Law if the killing of a person, even partisans, is acknowledged as Murder (§ 211 penal code), that means the act ot killing is particulary cruel and brutal, the killer acts out of his lowest insticts (ideological and racial hatred, lust etc., the victim is a child). For this crime there is no statute of limitation. Friedrich Engel has been condemned last year in Hamburg because the execution of partisans he had ordered and directed was considered a crime because of its extreme cruelty.
I agree though that is easier to talk about this matters sitting in an easychair then to have to take decisions in wartime, under other physical and psychological restraints.
Best
C.G.

gabriel pagliarani
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Post by gabriel pagliarani » 07 Nov 2003 23:28

michael mills wrote:I take it that the three partisans executed in Rimini were in fact persons captured while engaged in acts of violence against German forces, ie illegal combatabts to use the current US-speak.

If so, that was not a case of killing innocent civilians in revenge for partisan attacks. It was a punishment of actual perpetrators.

I think a clear distinction needs to be made between the punishment of illegal combatants and acts of violence against non-combatant civilian populations as a reprisal for the actions of illegal combatants.


Try to say to any American Patriot that a Minuteman was an "illegal combatatant" like you are saying italian partisans were :x ....the thread was "reprisals in Italy against partisans", not civilians. And a lot of partisans were not "illegal" but clearly obeying to the command of the Southern Co-belligerant Royal Government H.Q. of Bari. WW2 in Italy was also a bloody civil war and your specious distinction cannot be integrally applied. "Irregular" (patriot-insurgent) is not the same of "illegal"(bandit).
Last edited by gabriel pagliarani on 07 Nov 2003 23:44, edited 1 time in total.

c.g.
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Post by c.g. » 07 Nov 2003 23:43

Good point. I had forgotten that the title of the thread was about "Anti-Partisan Reprisals".

C.G.

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 08 Nov 2003 01:44

A distinction between the execution of captured partisans who had taken part in acts of violence against German forces, and the killing of civilians, is not specious.

Although the title of this thread is "anti-partisan reprisals", many of the messages posted have referred to the killings of civilians, including women and children, and have described such killings as atrocities.

I am saying that the hanging of Gabriel Pagliarani's distant relative is in a different category from the killing of innocent Italian civilians in revenge for partisan attacks on German forces. The person hanged was not innocent, but a perpetrator of acts of violence against German forces, whether personally or in a common purpose with a group of which he was a member.

That is a separate issue from whether the acts of violence committed by partisans were legal or illegal according to the laws of war, and whether the execution of the perpetrators of those acts was or was not a legal act.

The issue here is that the public execution of captured partisans, whether summarily or after a court martial, is more justifiable than the killing of civilians, who were in most cases probably quite innocent of any actions against the German forces.

If the United States Government can proclaim as an "illegal combatant" any person who resisted with weapons the invasion of Afghanistan by its forces, and treat that person as a criminal not protected by the laws applicable to captured enemy personnel, then it seems to me entirely reasonable that the German Government took the same attitude to persons who resisted with force of arms its invasion of Italy.

c.g.
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Post by c.g. » 08 Nov 2003 11:12

I am really not sure if America's "war on terrorism", "Freedom for Afghanistan" operation or "invasion of Afghanistan", as you write, can really be compared with Hitler's wars and invasions of European countries. The Afghan people - or at least large parts of it - is surely better off now then under the Talibans. Personally I wouldn't have minded to live in France, Holland or Belgium before the war but I surely wouldn't have spent a minute under Taliban's rule.

In regard to the problem you pose, I do agree with you that you cannot put on the same level shooting of partisans after a military court sentence - even a problematic one as a Standgericht - and wanton murder of civilians especially in the form of Marzabotto, Sant'Anna, Oradour, Kommeno etc.

In regard to any of this atrocities or let's better take the Valluciole "incident", if the Rcn.Unit of the Hermann Göring after the partisan attack that killed two men and wounded one (they were dressed in civilian clothes, by the way) would have pursued the partisans and shot them I wouldn't call it a crime.
It became a serious crime because instead of doing that, they just went into the village and killed almost everyone (took the men to carry ammunition and loot and shot them later, shot women, elder men and children right away among the houses, in same cases, according to the British investigation team, younger women were raped.

The three partisans in Rimini were hanged - according to German sources - because they were caught armed by the Germans. A classic case, if you will.

Many cases of shooting of prisoners (partisans in this case), however didn't fit in this category at all. There was no trial, nor asking who or what. Nevertheless I say that most situations can be understood only if you see the overall context and know the details of the case. Usually - this is my personal experience in researching war crimes - every case is different. I draw a clear line when the executions are "excessive", the prisoners were tortured physically or mentally or the killing is motivated by "lower instincts" as I wrote last night.
A case of "lower instincts" (racial hatred) is this one directed not against Italians but against US Army POW's:
The case is reported by an Austrian Veteran in the book that he wrote about his wartime experiences (Hans Burtscher, Die politisch Unzuverlässigen): in December 1944, during Operation Regenwetter against troops of the US 92. Inf.Div. in the Apennines, a platoon of the Hochgebirgsjäger-Battalion 4 captured a little group of about 12 Afroamerican soldiers. By order of an officer they were forced to carry ammunition boxes for the soldiers. After a march the American soldiers were locked into a hut or a barn. Then the CO gave order to shoot into it two Panzerfaust rockets, thus killing the prisoners. The CO is not named but I have a strong suspect that it was a Coy commander known as a Nazi and KIA a few weeks later.

Anyway, if this thread is to be continued, I would suggest a clarification of its theme by the moderators and eventually to keep detail aspects that don't fit into the general line out of it. They can be posted elsewhere.

I will post in a few minutes in the "Sticky" thread about Wehrmacht and war crimes a few information on German Mountain Troops and Anti-Partisan Warfare in Italy 1943-1945".

Thanks
C.G.

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Post by michael mills » 08 Nov 2003 12:16

c.g. wrote:

I am really not sure if America's "war on terrorism", "Freedom for Afghanistan" operation or "invasion of Afghanistan", as you write, can really be compared with Hitler's wars and invasions of European countries. The Afghan people - or at least large parts of it - is surely better off now then under the Talibans. Personally I wouldn't have minded to live in France, Holland or Belgium before the war but I surely wouldn't have spent a minute under Taliban's rule.



I do not think that c.g.'s cultural preferences invalidate the point I made.

The fact is that the United States Government has taken the position that all persons taken in arms resisting the United States forces that invaded Afghanistan are "illegal combatants", and therefore to be treated as criminals rather than as prisoners of war, despite the fact that those persons were members of an armed force established by the de facto Government of FAghanistan, namely the Taliban.

The United States took the position that the Northern Alliance, consisting of elements of the previous Government of Afghanistan that had been overthrown by the Taliban, was the legal government, and that therefore the Taliban fighting force was a group of rebels and hence illegal combatants.

The German Government took a similar position in relation to Italy. It recognised Mussolini as still the legal ruler of Italy, and Italians who opposed his rule and allied themselves with Germany's enemies as rebels and hence "illegal combatants". Accordingly, it considered itself justified in executing any Italian taken in arms fighting against its forces and those of Mussolini.

The United States has not yet executed any of the "illegal combatants" it is holding, but that is solely due to the pressure exerted by the civilised world.

gabriel pagliarani
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Post by gabriel pagliarani » 08 Nov 2003 14:04

michael mills wrote:...The United States has not yet executed any of the "illegal combatants" it is holding, but that is solely due to the pressure exerted by the civilised world.

You still say that the whole arguing is not specious, but your last words still efford my own statement. Illegal means out of law (..of combatant's country, not invader's one!) The source of legality therefore is the last destroyed government (Saddam's): Saddam living, a lot of soldiers will fight invaders only to obey to a sacre oath. Till there will be another fully democratic source of legality. Consequently Saddam's soldiers are not bandits but insurgent patriots against the invader, by the power of Iraqi laws. For this reason UN is obliging US government to speed up free democratic elections as soon as possible: the goal is in replacing the source of legality. Obviously there is a clear joint between the fate of Saddam and the fate of Mussolini.

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