What were the consequences?

The War Crimes trials begin: the British trials of Albert Kesselring and Max Simon, 1947

The events at Monte Sole were only partially touched upon in the Kesselring trial. On the contrary they were central to the Simon trial.


In both trials the defence claimed the necessity of the counter-insurgengy operations, the difficulties Gernman soldiers experienced in distinguishing between a civilian and a “bandit” and the illegitimacy of the partisans' war.


In both trials the prosecution, on the contrary, claimed that it was guaranteed under the conventions of war that civilians had the right to fight an occupying army, while the army of occupation was obliged to respect the lives of non-combatant civilians. Civilians were deemed to be innocent until proved guilty through due legal process .


Monte Sole was an example of the criminal nature of the campaign by the SS, involving the deliberate and arbitrary killing of innocent women and children. This was made possible by the orders issued by the German High Command, with the aim of terrorizing the italian population within the context of a war against the Italian partisans and a civil war between fascists and partisans.



Albert Kesselring (Commander in chief of the German Army in Italy), tried by the British forces in Italy, Padova, 17th February - 6th May 1947


The Criminal charges:

1) massacre of 335 italian prisoners at the Fosse Ardeatine in Rome as a reprisal;

2) Responsibility for issuing the many orders which implied a hardening in the counter-isurgency strategy between June and August 1944, particularly regarding the civil population.


Max Simon (Commander in chief of the 16th SS Armoured Grenadier Division), tried by the British Forces in Italy, Padova, 29th May - 26th June 1947.


The Criminal charges:

Responsibility for 6 massacres in Tuscany and Emilia Romagna, including Monte Sole.



Both were found guilty and sentenced to death. Their sentences were then changed to life imprisonment. They were both released in 1952.


Source: From Pezzino and Baldissara, Il massacro. Guerra ai civili a Monte Sole, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2009, p. 361-388.