Reprisal linked to personal vendetta

On June 15th 1944 the German Anti-Aircraft and Training Company of the 10th Army reached Saltino and Vallombrosa, where it was put in charge of the area around the army headquarters. The troops were assigned to anti-aircraft duties, but also to fighting partisans and procuring supplies. At around 11 a.m. on June 20th 1944, two distinct partisan squads of the XXII Brigata “Lanciotto” were warned by local inhabitants that the Germans of the above unit were carrying out raids in the villages of Prato and Castello. Later, a formation of about 25 partisans attacked the enemy (who, according to some accounts, were already lining up some captured civilians), killing a German officer and two soldiers, and seriously wounding two other soldiers. Shortly afterwards, the same German unit returned to Montemignaio with reinforcements: they seized 17 inhabitants from the various villages and took them to Castello, where 14 of them were lined up in in front of a firing squad (three had been passed over because they were too old or too young). At the sound of the Sergeant Major’s whistle, the German soldier who had been wounded in the morning (after glaring at each of the men to be shot and shaking his head) opened machine-gun fire. Earlier, to one of those about to be shot who had tried to ask a German officer for help, the soldier had sneered: “Don’t worry, you’re going to die anyway”. That evening, on his return to Consuma, a local asked the German Lieutenant Frommer what had happened. His reply was: “The Commander, out of kindness, ordered only 11 people to be killed in reprisal, instead of 30 “. From the German records we also learn that “about 5 partisans were killed during the action” while “The male population that was also in the village was rounded up and shot. The village was burnt down”. In the spring of 1945, Sgt. W. Cartwright of Section 78 of the British Special Investigation Branch heard the testimony of the inhabitants of Montemignaio and La Consuma regarding the events of June 20th and 26th, thereby definitively establishing the responsibility of the unit in question.

The Voices

Mauro Giuntini

Crediti: Località Montemignaio. Riprese e intervista di Pier Angelo Bonazzoli realizzata il 11/9/2016.

The Signs

Memorial stone to those killed in the massacre of 20/6/1944.


Place of placement: Roadside

Date of placement:


The monument was erected in Montemignaio on the spot where, on June 20th 1944, the Germans of the 51st Flak Battalion (Luftwaffe anti-aircraft artillery) shot 11 civilians (three managed to escape death) in reprisal for a clash with partisans that had cost the lives of three of their fellow soldiers. The memorial consists of an all-stone structure on a rectangular base with two decreasing levels. On the top is a stone cross. Inside the structure is a rectangular marble plaque with a rounded upper edge. It bears an inscription with the names of the 11 dead and the date of the massacre. Top-centre in the plaque there is a cross made up of eleven much smaller crosses. The lettering of the epigraph and the other engravings is lined with black paint. The plaque is in a brick frame. There is a bronze flower-vase on the base.

Personal observations

News and contextualisation


Author: Alessandro Bargellini