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Italian prosecutor opens probe of massacre of 642 people by Nazis

Jan. 14, 2014 at 3:56 PM

ROME, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- An Italian military prosecutor says he has begun a probe into the deaths of several Italians in one of the biggest massacres by Nazis in World War II France.

Prosecutor Marco De Paolis said he wants to formally identify an Italian immigrant and seven of her children who were among 642 civilians killed in a village near Limoges in southern France in 1944, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Monday.

The Italian victims are believed to be Lucia Zoccarato and seven of her nine children who died in a massacre carried out in retaliation for a series of a resistance attacks against German forces.

Nazis gathered the residents of Oradour-sur-Glane and shot the men with machine guns. Women and children were burned alive in a church.

Zoccarato's husband was not hurt because he was a prisoner of the Germans at the time.

An 88-year-old man in Germany was recently charged for his alleged involvement in the massacre.

France tried 20 people in the murders in 1953. Two defendants were sentenced to die and 12 others were given prison terms. The death sentences were later commuted in an amnesty while the rest were freed.

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