4 July 1944 , Castelnuovo dei Sabbioni, Meleto (districts of Cavriglia, Arezzo, Tuscany)

In the early morning hours of 4 July 1944, soldiers of the ‘Hermann Göring’ division entered some villages in the Cavriglia commune. They expelled the women and children and held the men, sometimes for a long period, before shooting them to death. Some women and children had remained in the villages despite the soldiers’ orders; they, together with men who had been able to flee, were witnesses to the atrocity. Soldiers of the division murdered 173 men.

Involved Unit

Guard Company LXXVI. Panzer corps; Alarm Company ‘Vesuv’; Parachute Panzer Pioneer Battalion ‘Hermann Göring


Generalkommando LXXVI. Panzer corps, Parachute Panzer Division ‘Hermann Göring’


Hauptmann Heinz Barz


173 (figures from the Cavriglia commune: 93 victims in Meleto, 74 in Castelnuovo dei Sabbioni, 4 in the village of San Martino and 2 in the village of Massa dei Sabbioni).

Investigations and processes

Sept. 1944 - June 1945: Investigations of the English SIB

1999: Investigations of the La Spezia military court – terminated the following year because of the deaths of the suspects.

2004-2012: Investigations of the Dortmund prosecutor’s office

Armed forces

The massacres

All male residents were pulled out of their houses and brought to the main square; in a short time circa 100 men had been rounded up there. Among them was the village priest, Don Giovanni Fondelli, who issued absolution to all the men.

16 July 4 AM departed via Montevarchi Cavriglia Castelnuovo. – There we shot to death c. 200 residents and the little town was pretty much destroyed, because German soldiers were murdered there by the Italians and bridges dynamited. Lignite works still burning.

Diary of Oberst Fritz Fullriede

Investigations and trials

In May 1999, the military prosecutor in La Spezia initiated proceedings against former German non-commissioned officer Rudolf Groner. Since Groner had already died in the 1980s in Spanish Málaga, the proceedings were quickly ended.



The British Special Investigation Branch’s files on the massacre at Cavriglia are kept in London (National Archives, Kew, WO 204/11477, War Crime-Atrocities committed by German troops in the Commune of Cavriglia, Arezzo on 4, 8, 11 July 1944, Reggello, Florence on 13 July 1944). The files for the investigation of the La Spezia military prosecutor are kept in the archives of the military prosecutor in Rome. Photographic material showing troops of the ‘Herman Göring’ division in Valdarno are kept in the photo-archive of the German Federal Archives in Koblenz (Bild 101 I 479-2195-2200). The cited diary of Fritz Fullriede, is kept in the Nederlands Instituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie, Amsterdam.


Filippo Boni, Colpire la comunità: 4-11 luglio 1944: le stragi naziste a Cavriglia, Florence, Consiglio regionale della Toscana, 2007.

Carlo Gentile, Le stragi del 1944 in provincia di Arezzo ed i loro perpetratori, Cologne 1998, 

Claudio Manfroni, Cavriglia, luglio 1944. La memoria degli eccidi, in Gianluca Fulvetti and Francesca Pelini (eds.), La politica del massacro: per un atlante delle stragi naziste in Toscana, Neapel, L’Ancora del Mediterraneo, 2006, pp 281-314.

Emilio Polverini, Dante Priore (eds.), Perché la memoria non si cancelli. Gli eccidi del luglio 1944 nel territorio di Cavriglia, Cavriglia, Comune di Cavriglia, 1994.

Authorship and translation

Author: Carlo Gentile

Translated from German by: Joel Golb

© Project ‘The Massacres in Occupied Italy (1943-1945): Integrating the Perpetrators’ Memories’


Text: CC BY NC SA 4.0