On September 29th Grava got news about what had been happening around Monte Sole that very morning and he went with the police commissioner to Pioppe.
The day after he went to Bologna and stayed there from 30th September until 4th October where he tried to speak with representatives of the authorities to denounce what had happened.
On the 3rd October he received a letter from Fernando Bonetti that described the whole situation and sought permission to disinfect the area.
After the war the former Fascist chief of Bologna Province, Dino Fantozzi, recorded in a diary written while he was in jail, that on the morning of the 1st or 2nd October 1944, the secretary of the Marzabotto townhall had come before him and he was very upset.
He said: “Excellency, they killed them all, women, men, kids, old people...”.
Dino Fantozzi dismissed him with a request for a detailed report. In that report he described what had happened and his attempts to speak and interact with the SS.
Agostino Grava, Secretary of the Town hall, Marzabotto
Soon after Sibano,we saw a terrifying sight. It was about 5.00 in the afternoon, the sky was darkening. All the estates of Sperticano, San Martino, Casaglia, Pioppe and Salvaro were in flames. Near the rectory, we met Father Giovanni Fornasini accompanied by a German soldier who was bringing him to Pioppe. The rectory at Pioppe was occupied by SS soldiers in charge of combing out the area for civilians and outlaws [partisans]. At the top of the house we could hear the sound of an accordion. We asked to see the officer in charge. An atmosphere of terror was pervasive. The officer told us that there was nothing we could do. From the tone of his answer and from the behaviour of the officer and his soldiers we understood that it was better to go rather than be arrested as well.
Source: Report of Agostino Grava “To the chief of the province of Bologna”, Dino Fantozzi, 11/10/1944 presented as evidence in the Reder Trial I.
Fernando Bonetti,employee of the Townhall of Marzabotto
Between Saturday 30th September and Sunday 1st October, following the combing-out operation, a considerable number of houses and hay lofts in Sperticano had been burnt. Moreover, some 50 people were killed, mostly women and children. The number of victims in San Martino, Caprara and Casaglia is still unknown but we are afraid it will also be considerable.
Source:Letter of Fernando Bonetti to Agostino Grava, 3/10/1944,in Reder Trial I)