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Italy's Worst Nazi Massacre and an Etruscan town

Monument to the Fallen

Marzabotto is best known to Italians as the site of the worst Nazi massacre in Western Europe, the equivalent of Lidice in the Czech Republic or Oradour-sur-Glane in France. On a far happier note, it also has the ruins of Kainua, a rare example of an Etruscan town that never grew into a Roman city.

The Massacre

Between September 29 and October 5, 1944, as the Nazis were being pushed back by the Allies, a Waffen SS column tore through Emilia-Romagna with the expressed purpose of brutalizing the population who were accused of supporting the Resistance. As they made their way up Monte Sole, they shot 770 people, including 155 who were under 10 years old. The village priest, Don Fornasini helped many escape the slaughter, but was shot when he returned to give his parishioners a dignified burial; he and two other priests of Marzabotto have since been beatified.

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Towns around Bologna

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Images by Francesco Lazzarin, Creative Commons License, NicFer from it, Creative Commons License, PietraL, Creative Commons License, Roberto Ferrari, Creative commons license, Stefano Muratori, Creative Commons License