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THE MEMORY - martedì 31 gennaio 2023 

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[SEARCHING FOR THE TRUTH]

The investigations


The first investigations, about the slaughter of Sant’Anna di Stazzema, were developed on October 1944, by an American Military Committee which collected some testimonies; however it didn’t acquire useful informations to identify the liable.
Whit the opening of the trial in Kesserling name, on February 1947, vibrating protests were raised by the whole Versilia, because the slaughter of Sant’Anna was among the charges on his name.
For this reason, the British Detective Service, sent in Versilia an officer acquiring the testimonies provided by the survivors and witnesses. In this way, it was allowed to insert the slaughter of Sant’Anna also among the charges in Max Simon name; he was the commander of the XVI Division SS, and he was tried by an Allied Military Court on June 1947, in Padova; for the Sant’Anna’s slaughter and for the others, which he carried out in Italy and in the region of Emilia. He was sentenced to death penalty, but then his punishment was commuted in life sentence; nevertheless, as it happened to many other Nazi criminals, Simon was pardoned after having served only few years of jail.
During the trial, also the responsibilities of the Austrian major Walter Reder emerged; he was commander of the XVI Battalion of the XVI Division SS; he was extradited in Italy and, on the October 1951, he was tried by a Military Court in Bologna. He was declared guilty for the slaughters of Valla, Vinca, Bardine San Terenzo and Marzabotto, but he was acquitted for the slaughter of Sant’Anna di Stazzema. He was sentenced to death penalty, but then his punishment was commuted in life sentence; in the end, Reder had been serving his punishment in the military jail of Gaeta until 1985, when, pardoned by the Italian Government, he repatriated in Austria where he died in 1991.
On 1996, thanks also to the requests of the Municipality of Stazzema and the Committee for the Honors to the Martyrs of Sant’Anna, the Military Prosecution of La Spezia has reopened the investigations about this slaughter.
In the meantime, the german journalist Christian Kohl providing decisive indications to identify the offenders; she published, on the "Suddeutsche Zeitung" newspaper, the outcomes of her researches, carrying out in the German Military Archives whit the collaboration of the italian historian Carlo Gentile. The journalistic service (also including the interview to a soldier of the SS operative in Sant’Anna) and the whole collected documentation, are passed to the sieve of the Military Prosecution of la Spezia.
The casual recovery of 695 files, related to the nazi-fascists’ slaughters and preserved into a closet in the undergrounds of the Military Warrant of Attorney in Rome, which were "provisionally filed", from the Italian government, in the 50 years (during the "cold war" times) in mutual consent to the international diplomacy, has opened new perspectives in order to individualize the offenders.
Thanks to the action carried on by the Committee for the Truth and the Justice constituted in Stazzema on September 2000, the Justice’s Committee of the Chamber of the Deputies, on the 6th of March 2001(at the end of a cognitive investigation, disposed in order to discuss about the 695 files hidden in the "Closet of the shame"), has finished its works asking that a Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry would be instituted, by virtue of article n. 82 of the Constitution, in order to reveal the causes of the hiding of the indicting elements and the concealment of the denunciations about the nazi-fascists’ crimes.
On 22nd of June 2005, the trial about the slaughter of Sant’Anna has ended. The Military Court of La Spezia has sentenced all the ten accused to the life sentence.



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