SS get life terms for massacre in Italy


From AFP news agency:

Nine ex-SS given life terms for massacre in Italy

Agence France-Presse

June 27, 2009 6:17 AM

ROME – Nine ex-SS soldiers aged 84 to 90 have been sentenced to life imprisonment in their absence by a Rome military tribunal for the massacres of 350 civilians in Tuscany in 1944, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Saturday.

Eleven former Nazis were tried for the massacres, but one of them, Max Roithmeier, a former sergeant in the SS, died during the trial and a second, Walter Waage, was acquitted by the court.

The nine other defendants were given life sentences for their part in the “violence and murders” which resulted in the deaths of around 350 Italian civilians, many of them women, children and old people, and for “acting with cruelty and premeditation,” according to the court’s verdict, cited by ANSA.

Germany was also condemned as a civil party to the crimes and ordered to pay 1.25 million euros to the families of the victims.

“The sentence finally does justice to those who suffered directly the atrocities of Nazism,” Claudio Martini, regional president of Tuscany, said. “Even if 65 years have passed, we should not forget what happened.”

Around 350 people living in the villages or hamlets of Bardine di San Terezo, Tendola and Valla, in the Fivizzano district, were massacred between August 19 and 27 in 1944. Fifty three men were shot and their bodies put on show with a notice warning “This is what happens to those who help the partisans.”

The enquiry into the massacres was re-opened after the military records of 695 Nazis liable to be prosecuted for war crimes committed during the Nazi retreat from Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna were found languishing in a cupboard — dubbed “the cupboard of shame” — in 1994.

German World War II officer gets life for killing of civilians: here.

Former German soldiers accused of involvement in the massacre of Italian prisoners of war portrayed in “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” could face prosecution after a diary was found in which it was alleged they boasted of the murders: here.

3 thoughts on “SS get life terms for massacre in Italy

  1. Aug 11, 4:44 AM EDT

    Former German officer convicted of WWII killings

    By MARIA MARQUART
    Associated Press Writer

    MUNICH (AP) — A 90-year-old former German army officer was convicted of murder Tuesday over the killings of Italian civilians during World War II, and sentenced to life in prison.

    The Munich state court convicted Josef Scheungraber on 10 counts of murder and also found him guilty of attempted murder.

    Scheungraber was a 25-year-old Wehrmacht lieutenant at the time of the June 1944 killings in Falzano di Cortona, near the Tuscan town of Arezzo. The killings came after partisans killed two German soldiers.

    Prosecutors alleged that after partisans killed two German soldiers, Scheungraber commanded his soldiers to shoot three Italian men and one woman. They said he then ordered that another 11 civilians be herded into a barn that was blown up. He was charged with 14 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

    Scheungraber, who was in command of a company of engineers, maintains he was not in Falzano di Cortona when the killings happened, but was in charge of overseeing reconstruction of a nearby bridge.

    His defense team called for an acquittal in their closing arguments in July, saying that there was no evidence of Scheungraber’s personal guilt.

    Prosecutors acknowledged that there are no known living witnesses who heard Scheungraber give the order to kill the civilians. But they said he was seen in pictures at the burial of the two German soldiers for whose deaths the reprisals were carried out.

    Also, a former employee testified at the end of July that he remembered Scheungraber saying to him once in the 1970s that he couldn’t visit Italy because of what had happened during the war, which had to do with “shooting a dozen men and blowing them into the air.”

    The witness, whose name was only given as Eugen S., testified he did not remember Scheungraber saying he had given the order, though he said the defendant told the story “as if it were his decision.”

    Perhaps the most dramatic testimony in the trial came in October from the sole survivor of the massacre, Gino Massetti, who was 15 when he was rounded up by German troops and herded into the barn before it was blown up.

    “I heard a scream, and that was it then,” he said. “They were all dead.”

    Massetti told the court that just before the barn was blown up, he saw a man he assumed was an officer drive up on a motorcycle and give what appeared to be an order to the others. But, he testified, he could not describe the officer at all and didn’t understand what he had said because it was in German.

    He said that it was only down to luck that he survived – he was partially shielded from the blast after a heavy beam and a man fell on top of him. The other man also survived the explosion initially, but later succumbed to his wounds, Massetti told the court.

    ——

    See also here.

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  2. Pingback: German nazi massacre in Italy unpunished | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Auschwitz nazi arrested in Germany | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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