Loading
Pope to visit site where Nazis executed hundreds of Italians
Fosse Ardeatine Statue. Credit: Anthony Majanlahti
Fosse Ardeatine Statue. Credit: Anthony Majanlahti
By Alan Holdren
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Next month Pope Benedict XVI will mark the anniversary of a brutal massacre that took the lives of 335 Italians during World War II.

On March 24, 1944, Nazi soldiers slaughtered the hundreds of individuals to exact revenge for a surprise bomb attack in the heart of Rome that killed 33 of their colleagues.

When he heard of the attack, Adolf Hitler ordered that 10 Romans be rounded up for each Nazi casualty.

The Nazi commander in Rome took all those on death row in a military prison, but they did not equal the number Hitler had ordered. He added 75 Jews, political prisoners, individuals in jail for petty crimes and civilians present at the attack to the group to reach the figure. The final count proved to be higher than 330.

The 335 victims were led into the caves of a quarry by soldiers who were driven by commanding officers to kill each of them, one-by-one, with a shot to the back of the head.

Following the massacre, the Nazis covered their tracks by blowing up the caves. The bodies were recovered and properly buried a year later, when the war had finished.

A mausoleum that looks similar to a military bunker was later erected on the site to house the tombs of the dead.

The Pope will go to the site, called the “Fosse Ardeatine,” on March 27 to observe the 67th anniversary of the executions. It is very near the Catacombs of St. Callistus on the outskirts of Rome.

He follows in the footsteps of Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, who also paid their respects to the dead.

During his visit to the concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland in May 2006, Pope Benedict said, “In silence, then, we bow our heads before the endless line of those who suffered and were put to death here; yet our silence becomes in turn a plea for forgiveness and reconciliation, a plea to the living God never to let this happen again.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Jan
25

Liturgical Calendar

January 25, 2015

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 1:14-20

Gospel
Date
01/25/15
01/24/15
01/23/15

Daily Readings


Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
01/25/15

Homily of the Day

Mk 1:14-20

Homily
Date
01/25/15
01/24/15
01/23/15