Giorgio Napolitano, the president of the Italian republic, at the commemoration of the massacre at the Fosse Ardeatine on 24 March, said that this tragic event will never be forgotten.
The mass execution of 335 civilians carried out on 24 March 1944 by the then occupying Nazi forces was the reprisal to a partisan attack on German troops the day before in Via Rasella in the centre of Rome, in which 33 Germans had died.
The victims of the massacre comprised prisoners in the Nazi prison in Via Tasso and those in Regina Coeli, as well as random people picked off the streets. There are still twelve bodies yet to be identified. Thanks to DNA tests it was confirmed on 25 March that victim number 329 is not Marco Moscati, a partisan who was active in the Castelli area, as had been thought.
The Nazis held responsible for the massacre were Colonel Herbert Kappler and Captain Erich Priebke, head of the SS in Italy. Kappler was given a life sentence shortly after the war but escaped from a military hospital in 1977 and lived in Germany until he died the year later, whereas Priebke was not found until 1992 when he was extradited to Italy and received a life sentence. Due to his age, Priebke was permitted to live under house arrest and is currently serving his sentence in Rome.
There is a national monument at the site of the Fosse Ardeatine massacre that can be visited daily from 8.45 to 16.45. It is located to the south of the city centre near Via Appia at Via Ardeatina 174, and can be reached by taking bus 218 from S. Giovanni in Laterano