A black and white portrait fo Wolf Ewert in uniform including the hat.
© BArch, PERS 6/1221

Wolf Ewert

* "31 October 1905" – Stralsund, Pomerania
† "16 March 1994" – Bad Nauheim, Hessen

Wolf Ewert was the son of a Prussian officer; starting at age 11 he attended a military boarding school. He experienced the German defeat in the First World War and the following unrest as traumatic. In 1924, aged nearly 19, he joined the Reichswehr, serving in an infantry regiment in Northern Germany. He became an officer in 1929. 

He only participated in the final days of the invasion of France. The first time he led a battalion was during the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. 

His initial contact with partisan warfare was likewise in the east – Ewert was a witness to the Wehrmacht’s brutal retaliation measures in Charkov in 1941. After being wounded in close combat and subsequent recuperation, he took over Grenadier Regiment 274 of the 94th Infantry Division, deployed in Italy.

After heavy fighting, in May 1944 the regiment withdrew to Lake Trasimeno and Arezzo. In mid-July 1944, mass shootings took place in Ewert’s sector – in San Polo, San Severo, and the Badicroce farmstead near Arezzo. In 1967, the Gießen prosecutors opened an investigation of Ewert and other members of his regiment on account of the massacre at San Polo. The proceedings were terminated in 1972. 

Ewert kept a diary covering the entire period of the war. 

Reichswehr, Wehrmacht
Army branch
Joined the NSDAP
Not verified
Armed force
Grenadier-Regiment 274, 94. Infanterie-Division
Years of service
France 1940
Occupation of Poland 1940
Operation Barbarossa 1941
Eastern Front 1941-43
Italian Front Februar - September 1944
Western Front 1944-45
Confirmed Massacres

San Polo

Post war period

Investigation of the Gießen prosecutor’s office 1967; terminated 1972

Training and experiences of war

Participation in mass killings

‘Palazzo del Pero. Persistent incidents with bandits, murder of German soldiers causes me to take severe action against captured partisans.’ 

A black and white photo showing Wolf Ewert in uniform performing the Nazi salute.
© Private collection

Wolf Ewert :
4 July 1944

In der Nachkriegszeit

‘I am of the opinion that the value of a confession gained through strong mistreatment and great pressure is no different from that of a voluntary confession.’ 

A black and white photo showing Wolf Ewert in uniform performing the Nazi salute.
© Private collection

Wolf Ewert :


Wolf Ewert’s diary and his memoirs were published by his nephew in 2012 (see literature). References to the events in San Polo on pp. 298f. His personnel files from the time of military service are kept in the Military Archives of the German Federal Archives in Freiburg (BArch, PERS 6/1221). References to deployment of Ewert’s combat group within  the 305th Infantry Division in: BArch, RH 26-305/26, commands for separation of subordinate units, 11 Jan.-8. July 1944. Information on Ewert’s concrete role in the massacre at San Polo is found in the extensive documentation of the La Spezia military prosecutor’s investigation, archive of Rome military court (PP n. 261/04 RNR, San Polo). This comprises all the important files of the British, German, and Italian investigative authorities. 

The British files are also located in London, National Archives, Kew, War Office (WO), WO 204/11482; WO 310/109; WO 311/349 and WO 170/515. The files of the investigation of the Giessen prosecutor are kept in the Hauptstaatsarchiv Darmstadt (HStAD H 13 Giessen Nr. 4884/1-17). The records in the archives of the Ludwigsburg Central Office (BArch, B 162/18194, Erschießung italienischer Zivilisten in San Polo / Provinz Arezzo (Italien) am 14.7.1944 durch Angehörige des Grenadierregimentes 274 der 94. Infanteriedivision 1967-1972) is not accessible at present. 


Carlo Gentile, Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Partisanenkrieg: Italien 1943-1945, Paderborn, Schöningh, 2012, pp. 371-374. 

Carlo Gentile, Le stragi nazifasciste in Toscana 1943-45. Vol. 4. Guida archivistica alla memoria. Gli archivi tedeschi, foreword by Enzo Collotti, Rome, Carocci, 2005, pp. 46, 99-102, 127, 135, 137-142.

Malte Ewert, Ein deutscher Offizier. Kriegserinnerungen 1940-1945 aus der Sicht des Bataillons-, Regiments- und Divisionskommandeurs Generalmajor Wolf Ewert, Meime, Education & Art Publ. Ewert, 2012.

Gerhard Schreiber, Deutsche Kriegsverbrechen in Italien. Täter, Opfer, Strafverfolgung, München, C.H. Beck, 1996, p. 177.

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