The Sant'Anna di Stazzema massacre was a Nazi German war crime committed in the hill village of Sant'Anna di Stazzema in Tuscany, Italy, in the course of an operation against the Italian resistance movement during the Italian Campaign of World War II. On 12 August 1944 the Waffen-SS, with the help of the Brigate Nere, murdered about 560 local villagers and refugees, including 130 children, and burned their bodies. These crimes have been defined as voluntary and organized acts of terrorism by the Military Tribunal of La Spezia and the highest Italian court of appeal.
On the morning of 12 August 1944, German troops of the 2nd Battalion of SS Panzergrenadier Regiment 35 of 16th SS Panzergrenadier Division Reichsführer-SS, commanded by SS-Hauptsturmführer Anton Galler, entered the mountain village of Sant'Anna di Stazzema. With them, some fascists of the 36th Brigata Nera "Benito Mussolini" based in Lucca, dressed with German uniforms. The soldiers immediately proceeded to round up villagers and refugees, locking up hundreds of them in several barns and stables before systematically executing them. The killings were done mostly by shooting groups of people with machine guns or by herding them into basements and other enclosed spaces and tossing in hand grenades. At the 16th-century local church, the priest Fiore Menguzzo was shot at point-blank range, and machine guns were then turned on some 100 people gathered there. In all, the victims included at least 107 children , as well as eight pregnant women . After other people were killed through the village, their corpses were set on fire . The livestock were also exterminated and the whole village was burnt down. All this took three hours. The SS men then sat down outside the burning Sant'Anna and ate lunch.
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