Germany reopens Nazi massacre of 560 Italians

The decision by German justice officials to reopen an investigation into a Second World War massacre of some 560 Italian civilians in Tuscany by Nazi soldiers 70 years ago is welcome news, a Rome prosecutor said Tuesday.

"The statement from the (German) court aligns German justice with Italian (justice)," said prosecutor Marco De Paolis, who is responsible for the Italian case pressing for prosecutions in the massacre on August 12, 1944 that included 116 children in the village of Sant'Anna di Stazzema, near Lucca.
"I hope that they will proceed to a judgment, and that this judgment is in compliance with Italian justice," he added.
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said that on the 70th anniversary of the massacre, it was time for a "reopening of a door in the pursuit of accountability in a court of law".
In a letter to the community of Sant'Anna di Camaiore, the president said he hoped for more cooperation from Germany on the investigation.
"I wish to not miss this sad and solemn day," wrote Napolitano, one of several politicians sending messages acknowledging the anniversary. "I am always mindful, always supportive of the people of Sant'Anna di Camaiore, and express my admiration for those who continue to work tirelessly for the cause of truth and justice".

In May 2013, the attorney general of Stuttgart rejected efforts to have the case reopened by a victims' group while five of the alleged perpetrators of the massacre at Sant'Anna are still alive.
That bid for a new investigation followed a study by Italian-German historian Carlo Gentile, who said he had found flaws in earlier probes carried out by German prosecutors. In October 2012, after a 10-year investigation, German magistrates said a lack of evidence had forced them to drop the case against the surviving Nazi soldiers accused in the massacre. Amid a national outcry at the time, Napolitano spoke out against the German court's ruling, calling it "disturbing".

In its own investigation and trial, the Italian military court condemned 10 of the ex-Nazi officers to life in prison in absentia.

Germany refused to grant Italy's request for the arrest of those still alive.
 Italian prosecutors have issued European arrest warrants for as many as 15 German former soldiers without success.

Under the terms of a postwar settlement, Germany is not required to extradite alleged war criminals to Italy.

The atrocity against the villagers and refugees hiding in the hillside village of Sant'Anna lasted only three hours and came in retaliation for actions by the Italian resistance against Germany.

Nazi soldiers rounded up civilians, locking them in barns and buildings before systematically executing many with machine guns.

In other cases, grenades were thrown into locked buildings and basements to kill the people trapped inside.
Even livestock was killed in what was described as a "scorched earth" operation./ANSA/- Oculus News
Germany reopens Nazi massacre of 560 Italians Germany reopens Nazi massacre of 560 Italians Tuesday, August 12, 2014 Rating: 5
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