Civitella in Val di Chiana

The church of Santa Maria Assunta at Civitella. The monument dedicated to the massacre's victims is on the left. © Udo Gümpel

29 June 1944 , Civitella in Val di Chiana (Arezzo, Toscana)

Soldiers from the "Vesuv" Alarm Company of the "Hermann Göring”" Panzer Division attacked Civitella at dawn. They killed all the men they could find, looted and burnt down the houses, while women and children were driven out of the village.

Involved Unit

Military Police Detachment b 1000; Alarm Company “Vesuv”; Alarm Company “Pauke”; “Hermann Göring” military band


Captain Heinz Barz; Leutnant Siegfried Böttcher



Armed forces
At a bridge below Civitella, eyewitnesses spotted parked military vehicles camouflaged so that they could not be recognised from above, as well as a large number of soldiers setting off at around six in the morning.
When they arrived in the village, the soldiers split up into small groups. They forced their way into the houses and dragged the men out. They gave the women and children no time to get dressed or take their personal belongings with them. The houses were first looted and then set on fire.


The Civitella massacre is barely mentioned in the German military records. The only document in the military records that can be clearly traced back to this event is a map of the Ic detachment of the LXXVI Panzer Corps dated 30 June 1944 with information on the location of partisan groups. A large circle was drawn around the area of Civitella, Cornia and San Pancrazio, the label "Bandengebiet" (‘gang area’) and the reference to a "G[egen]M[aßnahme]" (counter measure) on 29 June 1944 were inserted: BArch, RH 24-76/13, Gen.Kdo. LXXVI. Pz.K., Ic-Bandenlagekarte vom 30. Juni 1944. The data on the losses suffered by the German troops in Civitella and the surrounding area before the massacre are kept in the PA-Department of the Federal Archives in Berlin.

The documents of the Allied investigation are kept at the National Archives in London: WO 204/11479, Atrocities committed by German Troops at Civitella, Cornia and San Pancrazio and WO 310/220. The materials of the trial of General Wilhelm Schmalz from 1948-1950 are partly kept in the archives of the Military Prosecutor's Office in Rome, as are the materials of the most recent investigations and proceedings. The investigations conducted by the Düsseldorf Public Prosecutor's Office between 1956 and 1958 are kept in the North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) State Archives: NW 377, No. 3786. The files of the investigation proceedings of the Dortmund Public Prosecutor's Office (45 Js 1/04) are kept in its archives.


Ida Balò-Valli, Giugno 1944. Civitella racconta, Cortona, L'Etruria, 1994.

Giovanni Contini, La memoria divisa, Milano, Rizzoli, 1997.

Carlo Gentile, Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Partisanenkrieg: Italien 1943-1945, Paderborn, Ferdinand Schöningh, 2012, pp. 320-326.

Carlo Gentile, Le stragi del 1944 in provincia di Arezzo ed i loro perpetratori (Relazione presentata in preparazione della richiesta di apertura di indagini da parte dei comuni di Bucine, Cavriglia, Civitella in Val di Chiana e Stia), Colonia, 1998, online: 

Michael Geyer, „Es muß daher mit schnellen und drakonischen Maßnahmen durchgegriffen werden“. Civitella Val di Chiana am 29. Juni 1944, in: Hannes Heer/Klaus Naumann (Hrsg.), Vernichtungskrieg. Verbrechen der Wehrmacht 1941-1944, Hamburg, Hamburger Edition, 1995, pp. 208-238.

Christiane Kohl, Villa Paradiso. Als der Krieg in die Toskana kam, München, Goldmann, 2002.

Authorship and translation

Author: Carlo Gentile

Translated from German by: Antonia Frinken

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


Text: CC BY NC SA 4.