New inquiry into WWII Cephalonia massacre

West German prosecutors have reopened an inquiry into the massacre by Nazi World War II occupation forces of some 5,000 Italian soldiers on the island of Cephalonia in September 1943 following Italy’s surrender to the Allies, a newspaper report said on Sunday. A Dortmund public prosecutor had launched an inquiry into the massacre in the 1960s but the case closed in 1968. The Sueddeutsche Zeitung said new evidence from secret service files and military archives has prompted relaunching the investigation. Six former Wehrmacht officers will be scrutinized for their roles and responsibility. Troops belonging to the German First Mountain Division under Major Harald von Hirschfeld executed 4,750 members of the 12,000-strong Acqui Division after fierce fighting when the Italians decided not to hand over their arms to the Germans following Italy’s capitulation.

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