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German and Italian presidents honour Nazi massacre victims

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German and Italian presidents honour Nazi massacre victims


Joachim Gauck has become the first German president to visit the site of one of the worst Nazi massacres in Italy.

In August 1944 a unit of SS soldiers massacred over 500 people and burned the northern Tuscan town of Sant’Anna di Stazzema to the ground.

Gauck held a memorial service with the Italian President Georgio Napolitano in a reconciliation effort that followed a diplomatic row involving former German soldiers.

The massacre had been largely forgotten until 20-years-ago when a document was found in Rome sparking a fresh investigation.

In 2004 an Italian court found the surviving eight SS soldiers guilty of crimes against humanity in absentia,but none of them served their sentences and in October 2012 a German court ended its investigation saying there was not enough proof to charge them.

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