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THE MEMORY - lunedì 24 giugno 2024 

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A long silence

In these fifty years, Italy have forgotten the memory of the 560 innocent civilians, victims in Sant’Anna di Stazzema.
However, shortly after the war, various Courts of inquiry went to Sant’Anna: as first the english Courts of inquiry reached the village, then the americans; as last, before the trial in Bologna, the italians. So, the new authorities - polices and carabineers reconstituted after the war - questioned the survivors, took informations and wrote reports.
Those witnesses reconstructed the events and identified some italian men collaborating with the SS. Strangely, all this probative documents disappeared few time later.

The relatives of the victims and the survivors showed their disappoint against the absence of the institutions about their problems and about the lack of results of the investigations. So, they sent many telegrams to the Department of War (at the time) and to the allied military Courts to ask for giving evidence about the slaughter; moreover, many of them wanted to include the slaughter of Sant’Anna among the indictments in Kesselring name (he was a field-marshal SS); however, they weren’t listened.
Finally, some of them were listened as witnesses on 1951, during the trial in Max Simon name (he was general commander of the XVI Panzergrenadierdivision SS), held by an english military Court in Padova.
The slaughter of S.Anna has resulted as one of the six crimes carried out by Simon. So, he was found guilty and sentenced to death penalty. On 1958 his punishment was commuted to life imprisonment. At last, he was pardoned.

The slaughter of S.Anna, was also one of the crimes carried out by the major Walter Reder (he was commander of the XVI Scout Group SS). During the trial in his name, held by an italian Military Court, on 1951, in Bologna, unlike the other crimes carried out by him (Marzabotto, Bardine - S.Terenzo), about S.Anna Reder was absolved with a verdict of not proven. It was the 31st of October 1951.

For all these reason, since 1951, the memory of the slaughter in Sant’Anna di Stazzema fell into a sort of oblivion. The judicial investigation disappeared; the offenders weren’t identified: it seemed to be none offenders for Sant’Anna.
The village was still completely isolated: there weren’t streets leading there, there weren’t telephones. For the few villagers remaining it was very difficult to be listened. They wanted justice.

Until the first half of the nineties, anyone talked about Sant’Anna di Stazzema. The reasons were many and controversial. International diplomacy’s problems were the major cause of that silence, in the second post war period, and also the fear of Italian governments to reopen one of the most dark pages of the Italian history.
The first informations, about the liabilities of the slaughter, emerged on 1995 when, thanks to the official requests of the Municipality of Stazzema and of the Associazione Martiri di Sant’Anna, the inquiry’s files, wrote by the first Courts of inquiry, shortly after the slaughter, were sent by the American State Archive to Italy: they came out, to the knowledge of everyone, 50 years later.

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