The Marzabotto massacre was a World War II mass murder of at least 770 civilians by Nazis, which took place in the territory around the small village of Marzabotto, in the mountainous area south of Bologna. It was the worst massacre of civilians committed by the Waffen SS in Western Europe during the war.  Between September 29 and October 5, 1944, SS-Sturmbannführer Walter Reder led soldiers of the SS-Panzer-Aufklärungsabteilung 16 to systematically kill hundreds of “bandits” in Marzabotto.

“315 women

189 children under 10

30 youngsters between 12 and 18

161 men between 18 and 60

76 elderly over 60″

They came to Marzabotto
on a crisp September morn
and killed them all
men, women, children, babies, priests
for, you see, there was resistance
and this is war
and we are entitled to defend ourselves
against terrorists.

They did it with their own hands
burned the village and the church
burned the bodies
left the corpses
then sat on the ground
for lunch

Partisans are shooting at us
and this is a reprisal!
Did it matter that so many
were under ten?
It did not
This is terror. This is war.

“We are entitled to defend ourselves!”
but we no longer need bloody our hands
Now we push a button and play Warcraft
targeting from the skies;
after all, they are still resisting
as best they can.

Yes it is regrettable that children die
and women, and old men
long past their prime
We didn’t mean to kill them
they were probably human shields
It’s not our fault
we bear no guilt.
It is they who are resisting.



About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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10 Responses to Marzabotto

  1. beetleypete says:

    It is hard to separate what goes on today, from the callous massacres of the Waffen SS.
    After all, history has shown them the example, so they know what they are doing.
    Then they called it ‘following orders’, now ‘collateral damage’. The result is the same.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    • toritto says:

      Hi Pete – I wrote this several years ago – when last the Israelis were shelling Gaza.


      Liked by 2 people

      • beetleypete says:

        Have they stopped shelling Gaza now? Trump has forced Israel and Palestine off the news. Maybe they are happier using the building of new homes instead. And the bulldozers, let’s not forget them.
        The whole thing with Israel makes me so sad. A lifetime of doing what was done to them, and using that as justification. Perhaps the ultimate irony of my life so far.

        Liked by 2 people

    • jfwknifton says:

      Are you really equating the US and British forces today with the Waffen SS? Do you really mean that? I have met people who were witnesses to the massacres carried out by Das Reich in 1944 and your parallels are, quite frankly, appalling.

      Liked by 1 person

      • beetleypete says:

        Hi John,
        I am not equating the actions of the soldiers on the ground, and that was no my intention. So I am sorry if my comment read like that. All I was trying to say was that dropping bombs and missiles onto know civilian targets, or directing drones onto houses full of people, or schools, is no less an atrocity that shooting civilians by firing squad. The fact that this is done ‘remotely’ rather than by soldiers on the ground does not make it any less of an atrocity. The fact that there are witnesses to those earlier massacres should make us even more aware of what we are doing with these so-called ‘targeted’ attacks.
        Best wishes, Pete.


  2. toritto says:

    I too always expected better of Israel. Too many now consider Palestine as lebenstraum. Regards

    Liked by 2 people

    • jfwknifton says:

      Just let me say that I did NOT like this remark. I was trying to reply to “1 other person” and now I cannot undo it. What I would have said is that the remark equating Israel with the Nazis is appalling.

      Liked by 1 person

      • beetleypete says:

        Sorry to have upset you, John. I cannot get away from the fact that Israel has displaced populations, instigated racial ghettos, killed civilians, and done pretty much whatever they want as a nation, using the history of the Holocaust as justification for their actions.
        Of course, you do not agree, and that is your right to do so.
        Regards, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

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