More than 60 years ago, German SS units carried out a brutal massacre in the northern Italian town of Marzabatto, in which hundreds were killed.
An Italian military court in La Spezia has only now sentenced, in absentia, the ten SS officers involved to life imprisonment and ordered they pay compensation of €100 million to the survivors and relatives of the victims.
A further seven accused were acquitted.
Those condemned by the court were Paul Albers (88), Josef Baumann (82), Hubert Bichler (87), Max Roithmeier (85), Max Schneider (81), Heinz Fritz Traeger (84), Georg Wache (86), Helmut Wulf (84), Adolf Schneider (87) and Kurt Spieler (81).
Commenting on the verdict, a member of the Association of the Relatives of the Marzabotto Victims said, “Justice has prevailed at last. We waited for decades for this verdict.”
Ferruccio Laffi, who lost 14 relatives in the massacre, said after the verdict was announced, “Justice was carried out—at least a little bit.”
The judgement had a predominantly symbolic significance as far as the punishment of the perpetrators is concerned, since they all live in Germany and will probably not be extradited to Italy.
Based on past experiences with similar cases and the advanced age of the accused it is unlikely they will face a German court for the crimes they have committed.
The massacre of the civilian population of Marzabotto, carried out between September 29 and October 1, 1944, by units of the 16th SS Armoured Infantry Division under the leadership of the notorious SS Sturmbannführer Walter Reder, was one of the worst and most brutal Nazi crimes of the Second World War.
Some 800 people, mainly women, children and older men, were mown down and murdered in Marzabotto alone, with a further 1,000 killed in surrounding villages.
The victims included some 200 children, some only a few days old.
Pasolini was born in that region.
The film is Salò, or the one hundred days of Sodom.
‘The Producers’ musical on nazis: here.
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