Giulia Spizzichino on the Ardeatine Caves Massacre

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Giulia Spizzichino on the Ardeatine Caves Massacre

Language: Italian

Giulia Spizzichino, who gave her testimony in Italian on March 25, 1998, speaks about the Ardeatine Caves Massacre that took place outside Rome on March 24, 1944. In one of the worst massacres in Italy during World War II, over 300 Italian men were shot, in retaliation for an attack on SS personnel by resistance fighters. The previous day, the Patriotic Action Group (Gruppi d'Azione Patriotica, or GAP) set off a bomb that killed 33 German soldiers marching on Via Rassella. Hitler made an order that within 24 hours, 10 Italians were to be shot for each dead German. Nazi authorities in Rome quickly compiled a list of 330 civilians to be killed, with 57 Jews among the victims. SS Captain Erich Priebke and SS Captain Karl Hass assembled 335 Italian male civilians near a series of man-made caves on the outskirts of Rome on the Via Ardeatina. Inside the caves, they forced the victims  to kneel five in a row and shot each one in the back of the head. Afterward the Germans used explosives to close off the caves. Priebke fled to Argentina where he lived in obscurity until ABC news reporter Sam Donaldson tracked him down in 1994 and captured him on camera admitting who he was and speaking openly about his role in the massacre.  This led to him being extradited back to Italy where he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1998 by an Italian military court, but allowed to serve the last 17 years under house arrest.  He died in Rome on October 11, 2013, of natural causes.  He was 100.