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The Italian concentration camp of Giado in Libya. Ethnic Libyans were imprisoned and killed in the camp, as well as, after the racial laws, Libyan Jews.


About Rodolfo Graziani

David Willey

Field Marshal Graziani, also known as the Butcher of Fezzan, is known in history books for his brutality in putting down a local rebellion in Cyrenaica, Libya, in the 1920s.

He is also notorious for the massacre of thousands of Ethiopians in another of Italy's colonial wars a decade later, where he is reported to have said: "The Duce [Mussolini] will have Ethiopia with or without the Ethiopians".

He was the first to use poison gas and chemical weapons against Ethiopian troops and tribesmen in contravention of the Geneva Convention, which Italy had signed.


Unpunished Massacre in Italy

Klaus Wiegrefe

In the case of the Ardeatine Caves, the initiative came from the Italian government. Their initial attempts to see that the German crimes wouldn't go unpunished were abandoned early. Many of the perpetrators were living in postwar Germany, and the Christian Democrats ruling in Rome were hoping to avoid having to make any extradition requests. As one leading diplomat in Rome warned: "On the day that the first German criminal is extradited, there will be a wave of protests in countries that are demanding the extradition of Italian criminals." After all, Italy had sided with Nazi Germany until 1943 and occupied parts of the Balkans, where hundreds of thousands of people fell victim to the Italians' reign of violence.

Further Reading:

Pankhurst, Richard "Italian Fascist War Crimes in Ethiopia: A History of Their Discussion, from the League of Nations to the United Nations (1936–1949)", Northeast African Studies, Volume 6, Number 1-2, 1999

Eric Salerno, Uccideteli tutti. Libia 1943: gli ebrei nel campo di concentramento fascista di Giado, Il Saggiatore, 2008