Italian court allows claims by Nazi victims


Distomo, massacre monument

By Elisabeth Zimmermann:

Italian court to allow claims by Nazi victims

17 July 2008

On June 4, Italy’s highest civil court, the court of appeal in Rome, ruled that survivors of the massacre carried out in 1944 by Nazi SS stormtroopers in the Greek village of Distomo could apply for damages from Germany in Italian courts. The decision would allow the Italian authorities to sell off German state institutions located in Italy, such as the Villa Vigoni on Lake Como or the Goethe cultural institutes, to compensate victims.

In further judgements, the Italian court ruled that Italians who had been deported by the Nazis to carry out hard labour in Germany during the Second World War could apply for compensation from Italian courts. The number of former Italian forced labourers still alive is estimated at around 100,000.

In the period from September 1943 to the collapse of the Nazi regime in May 1945, at least 600,000 Italian prisoners of war were deported to Germany and areas of eastern Europe occupied by Germany and forced to work under brutal and inhuman conditions in German factories—in particular, the armaments industry. An estimated half a million died in the course of their deportation and hard labour.

See also this video about Distomo.

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