1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
Italian graveyard containing victims of a Nazi massacre
Italian cemeteries testify to Nazi massacresImage: AP

Germany Must Pay for Nazi Massacre, Italian Court Rules

DPA news agency (th)
October 22, 2008

Italy's highest appeal court, the Cassation, ruled that Germany must pay compensation to nine people whose relatives were killed by the Nazis in a 1944 massacre.


The ruling marks the first time an Italian court has made the German state liable in a penal case for damages resulting from war crimes perpetrated by Adolf Hitler's troops in Italy during World War II, Italian news reports said.

The case relates to the killing of 203 civilians near Civitella, a town in Italy's central Apennine mountain region, on June 29, 1944.

The Rome-based court's ruling came following a hearing in which a lawyer representing Germany, Augusto Dossena, stated that his client was exempt from such payments under agreements signed by the Rome and Berlin governments in 1947 and 1961.

"Germany does not question the responsibility of its soldiers and officers who tarnished themselves with ferocious war crimes," said Dossena, who, according to the ANSA news agency, also explained that Berlin has made past payments amounting to 800,000 euros ($1.07 million) in connection with the Civitella massacre.

But Dossena said ordering Germany to pay damages would violate international agreements and pave the way for thousands of people to seek war crime compensation on an individual basis.

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section Related topics

Related topics

Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

An apartment building on fire as a civilian and soldier run around in front of the burning building

Ukraine updates: Russia shells entire eastern frontline

Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage