Relatives of the victims of a World War II atrocity in Italy have welcomed the life sentence handed down to a 90-year-old former Nazi army commander for his part in the killing of 14 Italian civilians.
Josef Scheungraber was found guilty of the murder of 10 of the victims and the attempted murder of another in Falzano, Tuscany when 11 people were herded into a farmhouse and blown up. Angela Lescai, one of the victims’ relatives said it was a verdict on all wars: “It’s a reminder that this must never happen again, even in dramatic situations such as during a war when soldiers are in a difficult position. There is an individual responsibility which should never be forgotten.” The only survivor of the farmhouse massacre was a 15-year-old boy who appeared as a witness at the trial in a Munich court which had insufficient evidence to convict Scheungraber for the shootings of four other people. Outside the court building anti-war protesters mingled with relatives of the victims who held placards with the names of all the dead. The case is one of the last of its kind to be tried in Germany. The Simon Weisenthal Center, which hunts suspected Nazi war criminals also welcomed the verdict and praised recent efforts by the German authorities to bring Nazi criminals to justice.