Along a narrow country road lie the ruins of some grey stone houses. The foundation walls have been worn down to about half a metre.
The remains of the old village of Caprara di Sopra. In the massacre of 29 September 1944, mainly women and children were killed. © Udo Gümpel

29 September 1944 , Caprara, in the Marzabotto commune (Bologna, Emilia Romagna)

Until the Marzabotto commune was established, Caprara was the region’s centre. In 1944, it was the site of a grocery store, a tavern, and farmhouses.

We can no longer reconstruct many details of the massacre. It was very likely carried out by the same unit that had murdered the residents of Casaglia. Women, young people, and children were penned up in a large room and killed with hand grenades and by shooting at point-blank range. Other people were killed in the surrounding woods.

Involved Unit

3rd Company SS Panzer Reconnaissance Battalion 16 ‘Reichsführer-SS



Armed forces
The aerial view of the ruins shows the ground plans of the individual houses.
The ruins of Caprara di Sopra. Thirteen families lived here at the time of the massacre. © Udo Gümpel
Only women and children remained in Caprara’s houses. They were driven into the kitchen of the tavern and locked up there. The soldiers began to throw hand grenades through the window and then to fire shots at the locked-in people at close range. Finally, the building was set on fire.
  • On one of the higher remaining walls in the ruins of Caprara is an abstract iron figure of Jesus on the cross. The cross is missing and the figure has no face.
    Memorial of the Caprara massacre. © Udo Gümpel
  • A close-up shows the upper body of the figure.
    Detail of the monument. © Udo Gümpel
  • A remnant of a wall in Caprara. The mountains rise in the background.
    The remains of the village of Caprara di Sopra. © Udo Gümpel


Luca Baldissara, Paolo, 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. 244f.

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