Pioppe di Salvaro

The right side of a multi-storey red brick factory building.
The factory in Pioppe di Salvaro, where the massacre took place on 1 Oct. 1944. © Udo Gümpel

1 October 1944 , Pioppe di Salvaro, district on the Reno River, belongs to the communes of Marzabotto, Grizzana, Morandi and Vergato (Bologna, Emilia Romagna)

In late Sept. 1944, circa 500 men were rounded up in the valleys of the Setta and Reno rivers and held for three days in a hemp factory in Pioppe di Salvaro. They were interrogated for the sake of identifying possible partisan-helpers; men fit for work were separated from those who were not. On 1 Oct. circa fifty older and ill men were killed, their corpses thrown into the facility’s cistern. The other men were initially transported to the forced-labour camp set up by the Germans in the Caserme Rosse in Bologna.

Involved Unit

Ic-battalion of division headquarters

SS Feldgendarmerie-Kompanie 16


16. SS-Panzer-Grenadier-Division "Reichsführer-SS"


Helmut Looß



Armed forces
Behind a wire mesh fence, you can see the grille that closes off the cistern today.
The factory's cistern where the victims' bodies were found. © Udo Gümpel
The interrogations were carried out by an RSI officer, possibly in the presence of an informer named ‘Cacao’. The aim was to see if the arrested men had helped the partisans. This sort of investigation was the remit of the headquarters’ Ic-department. SS Sturmbahnführer Helmut Looß was responsible for the entire operation.
  • The memorial stone for the victims of the massacre is a tall, unevenly shaped stone tablet. In front of it are flowers in tubs. On the right, the memorial plaque is attached to a wall painted orange.
    A memorial and plaque with the victims' names, commemorating the massacre. © Udo Gümpel
  • [Translate to English:] Primo piano della targa commemorativa che sarà svelata nel 2019 in occasione del 75° anniversario del massacro.
    The memorial plaque unveiled in 2019 to mark the 75th anniversary of the massacre. © Udo Gümpel


Luca Baldissara, Paolo Pezzino, Il massacro. Guerra ai civili a Monte Sole, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2009, pp. 230-245, 586.

Dario Zanini, Marzabotto e dintorni, 1944, Bologna, Ponte nuovo, 1996, pp. 375-380, 469-481.

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