Doing some research recently on the massacre at Vinca during World War II, mainly having to do with diaries. I have a particular interest in it as it's one of my ancestral areas on my mother's side. (Fivizzano in the Lunigiana, province of Massa Carrara in northwest Tuscany)

It was one of a series of such attacks against civilians as the Germans retreated up the peninsula. Partisan bands had been formed and supplied (mainly by the British), to collect information, harass those troops, blow up rail lines and arms depots etc.. Not being able to find and punish the men, these SS troops, augmented by regular Wehrmacht troops, and already guilty of atrocities on the Eastern front against Jews and eastern Europeans, butchered women, children and old men. They were aided by fascist Italian Black Brigade from Massa and Carrara.

The names of the leaders are known, and the lower ranks, and NOT ONE of them really paid a price except for Reder. These stories have had a profound impact on my personality and even my choice of profession.

"The Germans burnt villages and destroyed churches in the vicinity of Fivizzano for the next three days from 24 to 27 August. The villages of Gragnola, Monzone Alto, Equi Terme, Corsano, Lorano, Tenerano, Gallogna, Campiglione, Viano, Vezzanello, Cecina, Terma, Posterla and Colla were attacked. The various German attacks converged at Vinca, where those civilians that could not escape, mostly women, children and elderly, were massacred while hiding in the woods and caves, using machine guns and grenades.[2][5][4]After an encounter with local partisans on the 26 August the German troops returned to Vinca the following day. Those civilians who had returned to the village were massacred and Vinca destroyed. All up, in the three days the 16th SS Panzergrenadier Division operated in the area 162 civilians had been killed by the division."

"Together with the massacres of Bardine and Bergiola Foscalina, the massacre of Vinca was among the indictments in the British trial against General Max Simon (1899–1961) at Padua in May and June 1947. Simon was sentenced to life imprisonment but pardoned in 1954.[2]

In 1951 Walter Reder (1915–1991) was sentenced to life imprisonment by a military court in Bologna for the massacres of Vinca and Marzabotto. In 1985 Reder received an amnesty and was released.[2][6][4]
A number of German SS soldiers were tried in absentia in 2009 and found guilty but did not serve time.[2][6][4]
Colonel Giulio Lodovici, leader of the Italian collaborationists, was arrested in 1948, brought to trial and released because of a lack of evidence.[2] All told, 64 members of the Black Brigades were sentenced to life imprisonment or lengthy prison sentences for the Vinca massacre but, because of a general amnesty in 1946, all were released a short time after.[6][4]
In popular culture[edit]

In 2018 the joint Italian-German documentary The name of the father (Italian: Il nome del padre) was produced. It tells the true story of the son of Josef Maier, Udo Surer, a German lawyer from Bavaria, who discovered in 2004 that his father was involved in the Vinca and San Terenzo Monti massacres.[7][8]"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinca_massacre

The film is in post-production.


The testimony of a survivor.



The nearby frazione of San Terenzo Monti lost 107 people.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtvWYc_viCY

All together, over 400 people were killed in the Lunigiana alone.

My mother, as a tiny little girl, saw the bodies of three neighbors swinging from trees in front of her church. It was forbidden to take the bodies down as they rotted.