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New probe begins into Nazi massacres of Italians in France

Slaughter of civilians included family from Italy

14 January, 14:15
New probe begins into Nazi massacres of Italians in France (ANSA) - Rome, January 14 - The military prosecutor's office in Rome has opened an investigation into the killing of several Italians in one of the largest civilian massacres in Nazi-occupied France.

Prosecutor Marco De Paolis is probing the massacre in Oradour-sur-Glane, where 642 civilians were killed, including an Italian immigrant and seven of her nine children on June 10 1944.

The prosecutor wants to formally identify the Italian victims, believed to include Lucia Zoccarato and seven of her children.

The massacre was ordered in retaliation for a series of resistance strikes again the German forces in France, including the kidnapping of a German soldier.

In the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, near Limoges in southwest France, the Nazis gathered the local civilians and then shot the men with machine guns in a barn while women and children were burned alive in a church that caught fire after bombs were set off.

After the war, the burned-out village was not rebuilt but instead left as an open-air museum to preserve the memory of the massacre.

Zoccarato had emigrated to France in 1927, along with her husband Giuseppe Antonio Miozzo, who was a German prisoner at the time and therefore escaped the massacre.

The family left the San Giorgio delle Pertiche in the region of Padua with their first three children.

In 1953, 20 defendants faced trial in France for the massacre with two sentenced to death, 12 to forced labour but a subsequent amnesty commuted the death sentences and allowed the release of other convicts.

A trial was recently ordered for an 88-year-old man in Germany who was allegedly involved in the massacre.