Massacre of Sant'Anna di Stazzema ,Toscana -August 12th 1944

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lavella
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Massacre of Sant'Anna di Stazzema ,Toscana -August 12th 1944

Post by lavella » 07 May 2005 19:59

Bonsoir

----------------------------------------from a french magazine dated may 2004----------------------------------------
Le tribunal militaire de La Spezia, en Ligurie, juge dés aujourd’hui, par contumace, trois anciens soldats de la Waffen S.S pour le massacre de 560 civils italiens, froidement exécutés le 12 août 1944.


Le tribunal militaire de La Spezia ne s’y est pas trompé. C’est donc par contumace que s’ouvre le procès du sous-lieutenant Gerhard Sommer, 83 ans ; du sergent Alfred Schnonenberg, 83 ans et du sergent Ludwig Sonntag, 80 ans. Tous trois sont suspectés (oserions nous dire indéniablement suspectés) d’avoir organisé la fusillade de 560 habitants du village de Sant’Anna di Stazzema, en Toscane, le 12 août 1944. Anciens soldats et survivants vont témoigner à charge contre les trois assassins qui avaient rassemblé la population de la bourgade contre le mur de l’église, avant de faire ouvrir le feu. Pour le procureur Marco de Paolis, « il s’agit d’un acte planifié et non d’une opération de représailles ». Pour l’opinion publique, il s’agit vraisemblablement de l’un des derniers procès de criminels de la seconde guerre mondiale. Soyons clairs : il ne sortira probablement rien de ce procès. Qu’importe. La justice rassemble ici ses deux notions, la vertu et l’institution. Là réside le devoir de mémoire.


it relates the "in abstentia" trial of 3 SS men guilty of the cold blood massacre of 560 inhabitants of this little toscan village










[/i]

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Post by FRANCY RITTER » 12 May 2005 14:40

Ciao Lavella!!!


SANT' ANNA MASSACRE
(August 12, 1944)
Just north of Pisa, between the towns of Lucca and Carrara, lay the small village of S.Anna di Stazzema. On August 4, British troops had freed the city of Florence (Firenze) and the German armies were now retreating northwards through the mountainous region of Tuscany, ideal terrain for partisan activity. Many of the German troops were killed in ambushes and skirmishes with the Italian underground movement. On August 12, the 16th Panzergrenadieren 'Reichsführer-SS' Division reached the outskirts of Sant' Anna, their orders to shoot on sight all partisans found in the area. Believing that the inhabitants of the Sant'Anna were all partisans or partisan sympathisers, the SS started knocking on doors and shouting 'Heraus! Heraus!' ('out of here!'). Gathered together on the village square, the men, women and children, were then shot in cold blood. In all, 560 people were massacred including 110 children. The houses in the village were then burned to the ground, the church organ was riddled with machine-gun bullets and the christening font completely destroyed by a grenade. Many of the corpses were doused with petrol and then set alight before the SS unit departed.

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Post by lavella » 12 May 2005 18:42

FRANCY RITTER wrote:Ciao Lavella!!!


SANT' ANNA MASSACRE
(August 12, 1944)
Just north of Pisa, between the towns of Lucca and Carrara, lay the small village of S.Anna di Stazzema. On August 4, British troops had freed the city of Florence (Firenze) and the German armies were now retreating northwards through the mountainous region of Tuscany, ideal terrain for partisan activity. Many of the German troops were killed in ambushes and skirmishes with the Italian underground movement. On August 12, the 16th Panzergrenadieren 'Reichsführer-SS' Division reached the outskirts of Sant' Anna, their orders to shoot on sight all partisans found in the area. Believing that the inhabitants of the Sant'Anna were all partisans or partisan sympathisers, the SS started knocking on doors and shouting 'Heraus! Heraus!' ('out of here!'). Gathered together on the village square, the men, women and children, were then shot in cold blood. In all, 560 people were massacred including 110 children. The houses in the village were then burned to the ground, the church organ was riddled with machine-gun bullets and the christening font completely destroyed by a grenade. Many of the corpses were doused with petrol and then set alight before the SS unit departed.
Buona Sera Francy Ritter
é sempre un piacere per me di conversare con correspondenti italiani...................

I thank you for the precisions you mentionned regarding this massacre
Before reading that magazine ,I was totally unaware of that tragic episode about atrocities commited by Germans in Italy (though everybody knows about the murder of 360 italians in retaliation of via Rasella)

I don't think that Santa Anna massacre has ever been mentionned in this forum ,where nostalgics are so quick to denounce the so called "western allies war crimes"

on the scale of war terror on both sides one can discuss ........but with those nostalgics or any kind of admirers of "the brave and proud SS ,the valiant brigade nere"..........I would prefer not to
Amicalement

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Post by FRANCY RITTER » 17 May 2005 13:20

Bonjourn Lavella!!

A other atrocity in Italy

BOVES....


(Sept 17th, 1944)

A few kilometres north of Cuneo in Italy, lies the town of Boves. After September 8th, 1943, it became an active centre of the Italian underground because of the stationing of many stragglers from the now disbanded Regio Esercito (Royal Italian Army). These partisans were led by Bartolomeo Giuliano, Ezio Aceto and Ignazio Vian. After repeated requests to surrender, the partisans refused in spite of leaflets being dropped by the SS. On the 17th of September the German commander, SS Major Joachim Peiper, ordered two gun crews to shell the town. The partisans again refused to surrender. Two German soldiers were then sent forward (as decoys) to be captured by the partisans. Hoping they would be killed, it would give Peiper the pretext for a slaughter. The parish priest, Father Giuseppe Bernardi and the industrialist, Alessandro Vassallo, were ordered to meet with the partisans and to persuade them to release the two soldiers. The priest asked Peiper 'Will you spare the town?'. Peiper gave his word and the two prisoners were released. But the bloodthirsty SS then proceeded to burn all the houses in the town after which Father Bernardi and Vassallo were put into a car to do an inspection of the devastated town. 'They must admire the spectacle' said Peiper. After the inspection, Father Bernardi and his companion, Vassallo, were sprinkled with petrol and set alight. Both were burned to death. Forty-three other inhabitants of Boves were killed that day and 350 houses destroyed. Next day, a column of armoured vehicles went up the road that led to the partisan base. A lucky shot from their only 75 mm gun destroyed the leading armoured car. After an intense fire-fight the SS retreated with heavy losses. One of the partisan leaders, Ignazio Vian, was later captured by the SS and hanged in Turin. On the wall of his cell he had written in his own blood the words "Better Die Rather Than Betray".

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Post by Karl » 17 May 2005 14:30

More damning then Malemdy eh. Never charged….convicted for this.

From memory Peiper was in France in June ‘44, Belgium in Dec and Hungary the following spring.

Sources please.

Edit: Peiper era in Italia in 43?

No convictions anyway, right?

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Post by FRANCY RITTER » 17 May 2005 15:02

Sorry Karl !!! I have exchanged the dates 43/44.......is Boves (Sept 17th, 1943)

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Post by FRANCY RITTER » 17 May 2005 15:13

On 17.9.43, Peiper found himself in Cuneo, together with his SPW-Batallion and SS-Aufklärungsabteilung 1. It was their mission to disarm the now capitulated Italian Army. SS-Obersturmführer Dinse was Cuneo’s military commander. An Italian Lt. Colonel introduced himself to Peiper as being a diplomatic member of the Italian Fourth Army, and told Peiper to leave the province of Cuneo within the next 24 hours, otherwise his Batallion would be completely destroyed. He remarked that Peiper did not stand a chance in the mountains. Peiper’s reaction was quick, and he ordered leaflets to be dispersed which stated that the Italian Army was to surrender. Peiper drove to Boves to point out to the Mayor what the consequences were, what would happen to civilians in accordance with international low, who fought together with the regular army or partisans. SW of Cuneo, Peiper’s battalion stood against a large formation of the Italian Fourth Army, reinforced with partisans. The city of Boves and the slopes of Monta Bisalta behind the city, about 6 km S of Cuneo, was the center of partisan activity. A detailed overview of what happened that day is needed, as it would lead to a juridical investigation in 1965 against Jochen Peiper and his Kompanieführer; Erhard Gürhs and Otto Dinse. On the morning of 19.9 SS-Oberscharführer Karl Wiezoreck and SS-Unterscharführer Kurt Butenhoff drove from Cuneo to Boves in a Kübelwagen, they were looking for spare parts in an abandoned depot of the Italian Army. When they arrived on the local market, they were taken ‘prisoner of war’ by Italian soldiers. They saw how Italian civilians were loading ammunition and food in trucks. Then they were blindfolded, and taken to the mountains S of Boves. They were questioned and locked up in a tower next to a chapel. Dinse heard from the Italian police officers, that two of his men were captured by the Italian Army. Peiper ordered Dinse to get them back. He left with a truck and one SPW, 10 soldiers, 11 with Dinse included, to Boves. When he arrived he found an abandoned city, but he heard from the local police that the two captured SS men were held in a camp in the surrounding mountains. Dinse left, searching for the camp. Outside Boves he was ambushed by Italian soldiers. He reported this to Peiper through the radio. Peiper told him to drove back to a point where he would meet him. At that time, the Italian soldiers opened fire, wounding several and killing SS-Sturmmman Willi Steinmetz. Under the cover of smoke grenades, the others pulled back. Peiper arrived with 13 and 14 Kompanie at 13:00 in Boves. SS-Untersturmführer Erhard Gührs went left and Peiper went, together with Dinse’s unit, through the centrum of Boves. Peiper recalls how:

“We were ‘welcomed’ with heavy rifle and machinegun fire, from the houses and the surrounding hills, hand grenades were thrown at us from above, very dangerous for opened-topped SPW. There were several men wounded and some dead, I had holes in my uniform and my radio was destroyed. I ordered a withdrawal, and ordered the Grillen (Mechanized artillery) to open fire on that part of the town where the enemy was. Several houses caught fire, and under cover of the smoke, soldiers and civilians withdrew in a part of the town we could not observe.”

Peiper went forwards, driving through Boves and reached the unit of Dinse at the other side. He talked with Dinse and Gühr about the possibility, to release the two captured men and to remove the body of their fallen comrade, Steinmetz. They went forwards and found his body. At that time, mortar and grenade fire opened up on them. Peiper ordered the Grillen to answer the fire. The Italians fled and Wiezoreck and Butenhoff escaped. They waved with tissues to show their location to Peiper. The firing was ceased, and the units went back to Cuneo. The Grille platoon stayed in Boves, to destroy the remaining weapons and ammunition. Peiper:

“When I returned in Cuneo, the Prefect, General Salvi, offered me his apologies for the incident at Boves, he told me that the Communists were to be blamed.”

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Post by David Thompson » 17 May 2005 15:34

For more on the incident at Boves, see:

Peiper in Italy
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=10754

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Post by FRANCY RITTER » 18 May 2005 07:27

Thanks David!! :)

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more crimes committed by nazis in Italy

Post by lavella » 18 May 2005 11:42

[quote="

ATROCITY AT BARDINE SAN TERENZO (August 20, 1944)

In the area around the village of Bardine San Terenzo, the SS 16 Reichsführer Division was deployed to counteract partisan activity against German troops. Seventeen German soldiers had been ambushed and their truck set on fire. All seventeen were killed. A search of various villages was undertaken where the SS looted and burned a number of houses. Fifty-three villagers were taken to the burned out truck and tied to the chassis of the vehicle and to field posts nearby. Next day a local priest, Padre Lino Piane, discovered the fifty-three bodies. All had been shot. Most of the victims were from the village of Mezzana Castello, those from Bardine were taken to Valla and there, shot. There were 107 persons in all. Only five were men, the rest, women and children. In the four days that the search continued, a total of 369 hostages were brutally massacred and 454 houses destroyed by fire. In overall charge of the SS troops in this incident was Major Walter Reder, the one-armed SS officer responsible for the massacres on the Monte Sole.

President Johannes Rau, made a formal apology to Italy and expressed his 'profound sorrow and shame' to the families of the victims of Marzabotto.



OVARO and AVANZIS KILLINGS (May 2, 1945)

The atrocities here were committed not by the SS but by a Russian Cossack regiment attached to the German army. At Qvaro, a village in the Butt Valley near Udine, the Cossacks, commanded by General Krasnoff, were retreating northwards toward the Plöcken Pass and into Austria with the intention of surrendering to the British occupation forces. Italian partisans, hidden in the steep cliffs and woods around Qvaro, decided to attack the retreating Cossacks. The Partisans inflicted heavy casualties on the column of Russians. As a cease fire had been signed earlier in the day, anger flared up in the breast of Commander Major Nausikof who, in cold blood, shot the parish priest and twenty one innocent civilians. The surviving villagers, furious at both the Cossacks and the partisans, started shouting 'Death to the partisans' when the victims were buried three days later. At the village of Avanzis another atrocity was committed, this time by German troops from the garrisons at Trieste and Istria who were snipped at by partisans and causing between 70 and 80 casualties. In reprisal, 51 defenceless civilians were killed and 25 wounded. Responsibility for this atrocity was SS Colonel Wagner of the Prince Eugene Division. These senseless attacks by partisans, after a cease fire agreement was signed, was responsible for the needless deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians.

THE CIVITELLA KILLINGS (June 29, 1944)

In their retreat to the north, German units passed through the Tuscan village of Civitella, near Arezzo. In the village the Germans gathered together all the men including the local priest and shot them all. There seems to be no logical reason for this atrocity but could be a random response to defeat, humiliation and retreat. Altogether 119 male citizens were executed. The village was liberated by the British 8th Army soon after.

In all of Italy, around 400 mass killings were committed involving the loss of some 15,000 civilians. Many atrocities were committed by the Hermann Göring Parachute Panzer Division and the 16 SS Panzer Grenadier Division.

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Post by David Thompson » 18 May 2005 14:20

For more on the general topic of war cruimes committed by German units during anti-pasrtisan operations in Italy, see:

Nazi anti-partisan reprisals in Italy 1944
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=34951

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Post by Retro » 13 Jul 2005 12:48

My comment
From well-known to me sources it results that the advance guard of Cossacks (Cossack's State under the command the gene Domanov) became attacked by Partisans under a command of the priest. The interchange of the fire lasted by several hours. The impasse did not become broken in spite one use acts by Cossacks and strengthenings of the advance guard with the squad of Junkers.
The impasse became broken by Cossacks. One from them crawled and threw the bunch of pomegranates downtown of partisan's positions Was killed then in the fight the priest (described as dressed into the English helmet and the cutty cassock ahigh knees).
The rest of Cossacks flung herself to the storm and surpassed Italians.
Wounded Cossacks became left in the hospital in Ovaro where after several days burnt them alive partisans..

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Post by David Thompson » 13 Jul 2005 15:00

Retro -- You referred to:
From well-known to me sources
Please provide them so they'll be well-known to the readers also.

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Post by Retro » 13 Jul 2005 16:24

The source
The book from the borderland of history and the belles-letters written by Joseph Mackiewicz the German title „Die Tragedies an Drau she” came into being in the large measure on the ground conversations of the author with Cossacks from Cossack's State which did not become given by Englishmen, but one left them to the watch of remaining horses after the Camp. The source perhaps weak but also and witnesses of events stayed after 1945r are few.
The author is in Poland well-known for the uncompromising faithfulness to the truth, was appointive by Russian emigrants to Nobel prize.
So much I can say right away I wish also to notice that the most of sources on Kosakenland and Ovaro is in Italian and this language this rather I not understand

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