What were the consequences?

After the massacre: the official response in the local newspaper, il Resto del Carlino

Il Resto del Carlino is a conservative newspaper based in Bologna and serving the Emilia Romagna and Marche regions. It is one of the oldest newspapers in Italy. The unusual name goes back to a time in the mid-C19th when shopkeepers would sometimes hand out a news sheet as change for a small coin, a Carlino.


The article was written by the newspaper‘s editor, Giorgio Pini, and this version of what had happened was provided by his old friend, the German Generalkonsul for Milan, Baron Gustav-Adolf von Halem.  Pini was pro-Fascist and later was the official biographer of Mussolini. After the war he was active in right-wing Italian political parties. Interestingly, von Halem’s cousin (also a von Halem) was executed by the Third Reich for his involvement in an attempted assassination of Hitler.


Here we see how the Italian Fascist authorities in Bologna tried to cover up the war crimes committed in Monte Sole and to ridicule any story that claimed a massacre had happened. All means were used to deny what had happened, including the local media.


At the same time there is also evidence from written correspondence that Mussolini was frequently in contact with Rahn, the plenipotentiary of the Reich in Italy, to  try to convince him that these kinds of actions were counter-productive. The risk was that such actions would increasingly antagonize the Italian population against the German army.


The usual uncontrolled rumours, the typical result of wild fantasies in time of war, were claiming until yesterday that 150 women, elderly people and children had been shot by German troops combing the town of Marzabotto, during a police operation against a gang of criminals We are able to deny these macabre rumours and the alleged facts on which they are based. The actual facts were ascertained during an investigation, which has resulted in an official denial. It is true that a police operation against a group of rebels was conducted in the Marzabotto area and this led to the death of several dangerous rebel leaders. However, fortunately it is untrue that the the combing resulted in the massacre of more than 150 civilians. What we are seeing here is the umpteenth, ridiculous manoeuvre by the usual reckless ones. Anyone wanting to interview any honest inhabitant of Marzabotto, or any person coming from the area, would have learnt the true version of the facts.

Source: Archive of the Resto del Carlino