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THE MEMORY - lunedì 24 giugno 2024 

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1944, August 12th

It was a massacre...

On August, the 12th in the morning, about 500 armed SS rose to Sant’Anna from Mulina di Stazzema and Capriglia Montornato; some native men were kidnapped to give help carrying the munitions of SS.

Around seven in the morning the village was already surrounded. Inhabitants could imagine a mopping-up but not an assault ; for this reason only the men could escape, but not the women, the children and the elders.
Manlio Cancogni, writer, tells about that terrible day:
« The Nazis took to Sant’Anna more than 140 people who were snatched by force from their home. Most of the villagers were not even completely dressed because they were still sleeping; they thought that they shall be moved to other place, for that reason they looked at their executioners without hate.
The villagers were gathered in the small square in front of the Church, which was not even twenty square meters and it was made of tender grass, surrounded by plane-tree and enclosed between two low walls.
When the Nazis took aim against those bodies they were so close than the soldiers could see into their eyes. The villagers fell down without chance to scream.
Short is the action of the machine-gun, someone could be still alive; so, the Nazis heaped up the pews of the Church on top of the corpse and burnt everything.
Meanwhile the Nazis blocked the poor houses scattered all over the valley.
All the inhabitants were gathered in their houses and, there, they were before killed and then burnt, together with the house and the cattle.
Some people could escape through the fields, others were hit before they could reach the forest, which should be their safety.
There were also children, which tender bodies excited the madness of that soldiers. The Nazis broke their head with the butt of the «pistol-machine », then they hung them to the walls of the houses with sticks ran through their bellies. Seven children were burned into an oven prepared to cook the bread just that morning.
But the Nazis still didn’t finish .
So, the soldiers went down the valley carrying out more and more crimes, till to the evening.
At midday all the houses of the village were burned down.
Every villager was killed. The victims were over 500, but the exact number can’t be known.
"Some survivors went down to Valdicastello bringing the news to the inhabitants of the plain, but they hardly could speak. In any case the events were printed on their faces and in their faltering voices. In Valdicastello the people began to realize about the events in the afternoon, when the Nazis reached the village.
The villagers heard the soldiers coming headlong down; they were accompanied by a barrel-organ, some songs and new screws and shots’ sound. They were killing again anybody was on their way.
The Nazis burnt anyone hid oneself into a cave; they shot a woman trying to save her baby who was flung down the scarp. Many people were killed on flight by the bursts of the guns-machines.
When the Nazis reached Valdicastello started to mopping-up the villagers; so, they hid theirselves in the houses; the street became desert; everybody was afraid. The crossing of the Nazi through the village ended at nightfall, when 800 men were already deported and one last burst of the gun-machine killed 14 other innocents ».

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