The trial against SS-Sturmbannführer Walter Reder in 1951
Walter Reder (4.2.1915 – 26.4.1991) was an officer of the „Waffen – SS“ during the second world war.
Reder was born in 1915 in Jesinek, Czech Republic (back in 1915 the name was Freiwaldau and belonged to the Austrian – Hungarian empire). After being a member of the “Hitlerjugend” he joined on February the 9th 1933 the Waffen SS. In 1936 he left the “SS – Junkerschule” (SS school) in Braunschweig and was from then on a leader in a variety of “Totenkopf” divisions.
Because he was later shifted to the division “Reichsführer – SS”, he became responsible for the massacre of Marzabotto in September 1944.
After the war ended, he was delivered to Italy in May 1948, where he was accused for war crimes. In 1951 the war tribunal of Bologna held him guilty for killing 1800 inhabitants of Marzabotto and neighbouring areas and he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He was therefore sent to Gaeta (fortress prison, in the region Lazio)
On the 24th of February, he was sent free precociously. Reder moved to Vienna where he then died in the year 1991.
The trial against 17 SS - Officers and Underofficers of the 16th reconnaissance battalion of the 16th “Panzergrenandierdivision Reichsführer SS” began in 2006.
This trial held by the military court of La Spezia trough the representative of the accusation: Dott. Marco De Paolis was initiated in summer 1994, because of the discovering of 695 investigation files in the Pallazo Cesi, seat of the military prosecution in Rome. (Also known as “Cupboard of shame”)
The files had a stamp on it, which said: “provisional archiving” (14.01.1960). This was the reason why hundreds of war criminals were not accused. The files also contained numerous names of SS – members, with an indication of their rank, which took part at the nazi massacre of Marzabotto between the 29. September and the 5. October 1944.
The first trial began in the springtime of 2005. The summit of the proceedings was reached on the 8.2.2006. The municipal Marzabotto, Grizzana Morandi and Monzuno as well as 99 survivors and relatives were joint plaintiffs. The lawyer Dott. Giuseppe Giampaolo represented them. On the 13.01.2007 after 23 days of trial, the military tribunal of La Spezia presided by Dott. Vincenzo Santoro accused 10 out of 17 SS – members of the massacre in absence.