A black and white portrait of Szillat: he looks directly into the camera. The collar of his uniform shows that he was an SS-Untersturmführer at the time the photo was taken.
On Monte Sole, the massacres of Casone di Riomoneta and Cerpiano are attributed to Werner Horst Szillat's company (2nd Company of the Reconnaissance Division). © BArch, R 9361-III/204900

Werner Horst Szillat

* " 6 June 1922" – Tilsit (East Prussia, now Sowetsk, Kaliningrad Oblast)
† "18 July 1995" – Klausdorf/Schwentine

In summer 1944, Werner Szillat led the 2nd Company of SS-Panzer Reconnaissance battalion 16 under Walter Reder. In this function, he was present in the actions in the Apuan Alps and on Monte Sole. Several sources point to the responsibility of his men for the Valla massacre and those of Casone di Riomoneta and Cerpiano on Monte Sole.

Szillat came from East Prussia; he joined the Waffen-SS when he was 18. As a member of the 5th SS-Panzer Division ‘Wiking’, he participated in Operation Barbarossa in the summer of 1941. 

After the war Szillat held a prominent position in the Schleswig-Holstein state administration and was highly active in associations for ethnic German expellees (so called Heimatvertriebenenverbände).

Nationality
German
Formation
Hitler Youth 1933-1940
Army branch
Waffen-SS
Joined the NSDAP
Not demonstrated
Armed force
Waffen-SS
Unit
5th SS-Panzer Division ‘Wiking’
SS-Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion 16
16th SS-Panzergrenadier Division ‘Reichsführer SS’
Years of service
1939 - 1945
SS-Obersturmführer
Offensive
Soviet Union
Occupation of Italy 1944-45
Confirmed Massacres

Vinca

Monte Sole

Post war period

Official, eventually head administrative director of the Central Data Office of the State of Schleswig-Holstein

Honorary judge of the Kiel Social Court and Schleswig-Holstein State Social Court

Never brought to justice for participation in actions in Italy

Training and wartime experience

A full-body shot of Szillat in black and white: he is wearing his SS uniform without a cap and is standing in front of a light-colored wall, facing the camera.
Szillat in SS uniform: the photo can be found in his personal file in the Federal Archives in Berlin. © BArch, R 9361-III/204900

Participation in massacres of civilians

The statement made to American troops by a deserter from Szillat’s company supports the hypothesis that his men were responsible for the Valla massacre on 19 Aug. 1944.

The postwar period

Sources

The SS-personnel files are kept in the German Federal Archives, Berlin (R 9361-III-204900). Information on participation of Szillat’s company in the massacres is found in the Rome military court’s Reder-trial files. 

For information on participation of Szillat’s company in the Valla massacre, see US National Archives, RG 153, Entry 143, Box 528, Case 16-73 (Massacciuccoli), statement of Josef Diederichs. German Federal Archives, Ludwigsburg, Verfahren no. IV 401 AR 1714/67, Befehlsnotstand.

Literature

Carlo Gentile, Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Partisanenkrieg: Italien 1943-1945, Paderborn, Ferdinand Schöningh, 2012, pp. 276, 282, 293.

Joachim Staron, Fosse Ardeatine und Marzabotto. Deutsche Kriegsverbrechen und Resistenza. Geschichte und nationale Mythenbildung in Deutschland und Italien (1944-1999), Paderborn u.a., Schöningh, 2002, p. 98.

Barbara Tóth, Der Handschlag. Die Affäre Frischenschlager-Reder, mit einem Nachwort von 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’

2023

Text: CC BY NC SA 4.0

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