Wolfgang Lehnigk-Emden

* "10 December 1922" – Calau (Lower Lusatia)
† "20 June 2006" – Koblenz

Wolfgang Lehnigk-Emden was a German Army officer, who led a platoon of the 3rd Company of the 29th Grenadier Regiment (motorized) at the Volturno Front. On 13 Oct. 1943, Lehnigk-Emden and some of his men perpetrated a massacre of civilians near Caiazzo.

Lehnigk-Emden was the son of a navy officer. When the war broke out, he trained as an officer candidate in Brandenburg. In Jan. 1941, he was assigned to Infantry Regiment 29 (motorized); that summer he participated in Operation Barbarossa. He later joined the Nazi Party and returned to duty in Nov. 1943, servingin France and in Italy.

In Nov. 1943, after being captured by the Americans he was interrogated on account of the Caiazzo massacre. Following his release in early 1946, he became a civil engineer and architect. 

In 1992, Italian prosecutors investigating the Caiazzo massacre brought charges against Lehnigk-Emden. German authorities detained him and pressed charges against him pending trial. However, in Germany, the crimes of which he was accused fell under the statute of limitations. Consequently, Lehnigk-Emden was dismissed without accountability for his involvement in the massacre at Caiazzo. Tried in absentia in Italy, he received a life sentence.

Deutsches Jungvolk
1940-1943 Wehrmacht
Army branch
Joined the NSDAP
Membership no. 8.575.400 (01.09.1941)
Armed force
3rd Company of Grenadier Regiments 29 (motorized)
Years of service
Eastern Front, June 1941-Oct. 1942
Occupation of France 1943
Occupation of Italy and deployment at the front 1943
Confirmed Massacres


Post war period

Civil engineer and architect

Training and experience in the war

Wolfgang Lehnigk-Emden joined the Nazi Party in 1941. In Jan. 1941 he was assigned to Infantry Regiment 29 (motorized) of the 3rd Infantry Division. At the beginning of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, in June 1941, he was in East Prussia. He then took part in operations in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

The massacre

When interrogated as a POW, Lehnigk-Emden, tried to justify the killing of the men as a matter of military necessity. In addition, he stated the following: ‘It’s not our fault if women place themselves between us and their men [Männer] during the shooting.’

The postwar period


There is little biographical documentation concerning Wolfgang Lehnigk-Emden – a situation above all reflecting his low military rank and relatively short military career. The most detailed information is found in German judicial proceedings kept together with the investigative files in Koblenz (Koblenz State Archives, 101 Js 35779/90 NSG Krug and Federal Court of Justice Karlsruhe: 2 StR 331/94), together with press articles. See also the Allied investigation and interrogation of German soldiers, kept in the National Archives, Washington (US NARA, Record Group 153: Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Army), War Crimes Branch, Cases filed 1944-1949 Entry 143, Box 544-545; US NARA, Record Group 407:Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 105- 2.13, Fifth Army, G-2 Reports, Interrogation Reports 1943-1945, Box: 2216).


Carlo Gentile, Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Partisanenkrieg: Italien 1943-1945, Paderborn, Ferdinand Schöningh, 2012, p. 105. 

Lutz Klinkhammer, Stragi naziste in Italia. La guerra contro i civili (1943-1944), 2nd expanded edn., Rome, Donzelli, 2006, pp. 43-53.

Authorship and translation

Autor: 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