The aerial view shows a farmstead in a wooded area: the houses are made of light-coloured stone with red roofs.
Group of cottages in Cadotto. The Waffen-SS soldiers arrived on 29 September at dawn. © Udo Gümpel

29 September 1944 , Cadotto, group of farm houses in the Marzabotto commune (Bologna, Emilia Romagna)

At daybreak on 29 Sept. in Cadotto, clashes broke out between ‘Stella Rossa’ partisans and soldiers from the 1st and 5th companies of the ‘Reichsführer-SS’ reconnaissance patrol. There were losses on both sides. Some soldiers observed that after the fighting, civilians – including women, children, and older people – had been systematically shot to death and not, for instance, lost their lives during the fighting.

Involved Unit

1st Company and an infantry-gun platoon of the 5th Company of the reconnaissance-battalion



Armed forces
Front view of a farm in Cadotto: on the left a two-storey dwelling house, on the right the restored shell of a barn or storehouse.
The Cadotto cottages, site of the 29 September 1944 massacre. © Udo Gümpel

On the way we arrived at a farmhouse. Before the house, two old women lay shot to death. I immediately had the impression they were not victims of the fighting but people who had been shot and killed afterwards. They lay directly before the door and gave the impression they had been placed by the door against the wall and shot.

Rudi Vysek, 1947

In Cadotto, the soldiers and partisans fought intensely and for a long time. In the Wehrmacht’s final report, we read that in the raid, Commander ‘Lupo’ and fifteen of his officers were killed, recognizable by their epaulettes and insignia.
A two-storey dwelling house made of light-coloured stone with wooden shutters. There are two benches and a table in front of the house.
© Udo Gümpel


Luca Baldissara, Paolo Pezzino, Il massacro. Guerra ai civili a Monte Sole, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2009, pp. 130-136, 141-149, 581.

Carlo Gentile, Wehrmacht und Waffen-SS im Partisanenkrieg: Italien 1943-1945, Paderborn, Ferdinand Schöningh, 2012, pp. 242-257.

Dario Zanini, Marzabotto e dintorni, 1944, Bologna, Ponte nuovo, 1996, pp. 529-531.

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