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calendar   Sunday - October 20, 2013

Justice For Captain Corelli

A month or so ago I did a little post on my favorite Nick Cage movie, the artsy and pretty to look at WWII romance flick Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. It’s a sweet story, loosely framed by actual historic events of the ugliest kind. Cage’s Captain Morelli is an Italian artillery officer stationed on the Greek island of Cephellonia, and rather glad to be in that forgotten backwater of the war. Life is a daily party for him and his men until Italy surrenders, and the Nazis show up, and it all goes to hell. The Italian soldiers were rounded up and executed, by the thousands. In the film Morellis survives, but in the real world very few did. It was “just another” atrocity in a war filled with countless atrocities of inhuman scale.

Now, 70 years later, someone has finally been convicted of this war crime. Sort of convicted. Because the courts don’t actual habeus the corpus. It’s a nice gesture, but I’m not sure it’s really anything more than that.

Italian military court convicts ex-Nazi for 1943 massacre of 120 officers in Greece

Rome’s military tribunal has convicted a 90-year-old ex-Nazi living in Germany for his role in the execution of 120 Italian officers on the Greek island of Kefalonia.

Prosecutor Marco De Paolis said Alfred Stork was sentenced in absentia Friday to life in prison for his role in the executions of the officers, including division commander Gen. Antonio Gardin.

Between 3,000 and 4,000 Italian soldiers were killed in the week-long massacre in September 1943. Italian troops that had been occupying Greece with German allies found themselves in enemy territory when Italy signed an armistice with the Allies following the fall of fascist leader Benito Mussolini.

It was the first conviction in Italy for the Kefalonia massacres. Previous attempts were closed due to the death of defendants or lack of evidence.

Stork, who had confessed to playing a key role in the brutal execution to German prosecutors in 2005, was not in court.

“He didn’t have the fortitude to stick to his admission of guilt and preferred to stay in the comfort of his German home,” military prosecutor Marco De Paolis told the court.

Stork currently lives in Kippenheim, southwestern Germany.

On 8 September 1943 Italy, which had entered World War II under the leadership of Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini as an ally to Nazi Germany, switched sides after surrendering to the US and its allies.

The armistice sparked chaotic scenes, as Italians troops fighting across Europe alongside Nazis had now to fight against them.

More than 500,000 Italian soldiers were taken prisoner and at least 5,000 shot dead in the following weeks.

Italian troops in Cephalonia, a small island in the Ionian Sea, surrendered to the Germans after a week of fighting.

“We were told to kill them because they had been designated as traitors,” Stork reportedly told German detectives.

It remains to be seen whether any extradition will occur. I would think this would be automatic, what with the EU being “one big nation” and all that, but we’ll see; his side wasn’t represented at the Italian trial so it’s all politics at this point. And while this Stork fellow may have been one of the triggermen, being 90 now implies that he was no more than 20 at the time, which makes me think he was too young to be one of the people in charge. “Just following orders” is no excuse, but obviously the big cheeses here either escaped justice or didn’t survive the war or post-war long enough to be brought to justice. Which is another kind of atrocity, and again a rather common one for this conflict. Sad.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 10/20/2013 at 03:21 PM   
Filed Under: • War-Stories •  
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