The former commander of a German infantry unit has been jailed for life for killing 14 civilians in an Italian village during the the Second World War. Ninety-year-old Josef Scheungraber was found guilty of ordering his troops to carry out the atrocity by a Munich state court.
His soldiers shot dead a 74-year-old woman and three men in the street before herding eleven others into a farmhouse which was then blown up. Only the youngest – a 15-year-old boy – survived. He gave evidence at the trial, attended by relatives of the dead who displayed the names of all the victims on placards outside the court.
Scheungraber – who had previously been sentenced to life, in his absence, by an Italian tribunal – denied the charges saying he handed the victims to the military police and did not know what had happened to them. The murders took place in Falzano in Tuscany on June 26, 1944.
Since the war Scheungraber has been living a peaceful life in Bavaria as a respected member of the community. He recently received an award for municipal service