The Italian Record of Nazi-Fascist War Crimes Prosecution project seeks to build the first digital archive in the world that documents Italy’s prosecution of Nazi war criminals, prosecutions that began shortly after World War II and continued through 2013. These proceedings concern war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Third Reich forces during their occupation of Italy between 1943 and 1945. In addition to an estimated 52,000 Italians who were killed outright, nearly one million Italians were deported—marked for extermination or forced labor—including more than 8,000 Jews of whom at least eighty-five percent perished and 716,000 soldiers of whom about ten percent did not return. 

The Italian trial records hold many answers about the campaign of terror perpetrated by occupying forces. In addition to legal documents, the case files contain letters, photographs, books, newspaper articles, and other personal information that prosecutors submitted on behalf of victims, perpetrators, and eyewitnesses. Italian, British, and American investigators assiduously searched for evidence in anticipation of bringing cases to trial. As a result, the case files represent far more than just legal history. They offer a window into a tumultuous and complex moment in Italian history—when the country was occupied by one merciless foreign power and former ally, invaded by other great powers, and convulsed by its own civil war.

Project type