A black and white portrait of Max Saalfrank in SS-uniform with an armband featuring a swastika on his left arm.
Max Adam Saalfrank replaced Walter Reder, who had fallen ill, during the operation at Monte Sole. © BArch, R 9361-III/170055

Max Adam Saalfrank

* "21 September 1911" – Hof/Saale (Bavaria)
† "19 June 1993" – Bad Tölz (Bavaria)

In 1944, Max Saalfrank was commander of the 5th Company of SS-Panzer Reconnaissance battalion 16. When deployed in the Marzabotto area in late Sept. 1944, he took over from the wounded Walter Reder as combat-group leader. His role in the massacre at Monte Sole has received little attention.

Until 1934, Saalfrank was a typesetter for the Nazi Party’s official newspaper in Bavaria. In the ‘Totenkopf’ Division of the SS, he initially fought on the Eastern Front.

Joined the NSDAP
1 May 1937 (no. 5020895)
Armed force
SS Totenkopf formations
SS Panzergrenadier Division ‘Totenkopf’
SS Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion 16
16th SS Panzergrenadier Division ‘Reichsführer-SS’
Years of service
Soviet Union
Occupation of Italy 1944-45
Confirmed Massacres

Monte Sole

Post war period

Saalfrank’s role in the massacre of Monte Sole remained overlooked. He was never brought to justice.

Training and war experience

Participation in massacres of civilians

Max Saalfrank was a confidant of Walter Reder, with whom he shared many war experiences. In the massacres at Monte Sole on 29 and 30 Sept. 1944, he was the commander’s deputy in the deployment-area.

The postwar period


Max Saalfrank’s SS-personnel files are kept in the Bundesarchiv in Berlin (German Federal Archives in Berlin) (R 9361-III/170055 und R 9361-III/551794). Further information is found in the files of the 1951 Reder trial, kept in the Rome military court. 


Carlo Gentile, Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Partisanenkrieg: Italien 1943-1945, Paderborn, 2012, Ferdinand Schöningh, S. 240f., 248, 274, 276, 289, 293.

Joachim Staron, Fosse Ardeatine und Marzabotto. Deutsche Kriegsverbrechen und Resistenza. Geschichte und nationale Mythenbildung in Deutschland und Italien (1944-1999), Paderborn etc., Schöningh, 2002, pp. 85, 93, 98, 186, 199.

Barbara Tóth, Der Handschlag. Die Affäre Frischenschlager-Reder, with an afterword by Friedhelm Frischenschlager, Innsbruck, Studien-Verlag, 2017.

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