What were the experiences of those involved?

29 September 1944 through multiple perspectives

This is one of the many testimonies of the survivors of the military operation carried out  in Monte Sole by the German army from 29 September to 5 October.

 

In Vallego (one of 115 places in Monte Sole where there were massacres) 14 people were killed: all Migliori's family and also refugees from Bologna staying in the house. The troops responsible for this massacre were the artillery, and the anti-aircraft and support units of the 16th Panzergrenadier Division commanded by Captain Paustian. These units were responsible  for all of the massacres that took place in the Reno valley area of Monte Sole.

 

On the 29th of September, I and my family were still in bed. Suddenly we were woken up by voices in the courtyard and someone beating on the house door. It was my brother and two friends who had come to tell us that the Nazis and Fascists were coming from Creda (down in the valley) and it was possible to hear hand grenades and machine guns  being used there(..). We had woken up in the dark, no electric light and it was still night. We talked  about what to do. The common opinion among us was that the adult  males needed to hide while the women, the children and the elderly could stay at home. (..)I stayed in the courtyard for a little while and saw them coming in silence. My mother and father, and my wife insisted: “Run and hide yourself. They won't harm us”. So I went alone. As I was walking away, my 10 year-old son, Armando, screamed to me: “Daddy, take me with you!. But he was bare footed and in his night clothes and in the dark his mum couldn't find clothes and shoes. So I went alone. The Nazis were already close. They saw me but they didn't say anything. I was quite convinced there was nothing to fear. (..) I thought that if they let me go, then my parents, my wife and children would have been safe. I was almost in the woods when I heard the first shots and the bullets whistled close to me. I hid among the bushes. (..) In the woods I didn't hear shots but I was very confused and the fear for my beloved meant that I didn’t think clearly...I wanted to go back home but at the same time terror held me.. I remained in the woods all day long and throughout the night. Early the next morning I decided. There was this bright moon, I approached the house. I trembled. (..) In the courtyard I  saw something lying on the ground: I knelt and touched the cold body of my father. Near the stable I found my mother, also killed. I lost my mind and I ran away to the woods. Some friends then told me: “They killed them all”. For 27 days I wandered the woods in the rain and cold. I ate grass and raw chestnuts. (..)

 

Calisto Migliori, survivor of the massacre: Vallego di sopra  (Upper Vallego,) speaks about his experiences during the massacre and how he lost all his family.

Source: Renato Giorgi, Marzabotto parla (Marzabotto speaks), Bologna, 1955