I Saw Them

I Saw Them
(L’Uomo che Verra… Director: Giorgio Diritti )

It was another massacre of the innocent
minding their business living,
they with peasant clothes
not neatly pressed like the Nazis’

who gunned them down near an empty building
and the church. all 700 of them.
I knew what they‘d do didn’t need another enactment
how the crime would enfold in the filmic telling

It wasn’t artistic curiosity that  held me
or the wonders of a new language
Bolognese which I barely understood
but the desire not to abandon them

to know and retell it  though they were only  actors
not the ones who were really murdered
the tots and the infants, the five year olds who were crying
the mothers holding them,  the panic and screaming


The MARZABOTTO massacre was a World War II mass murder of at least 770 civilians by Germans, which took place in the territory around the small village of Marzabotto, in the mountainous area south of Bologna. It was the worst massacre of civilians committed by the Waffen SS in Italy during the war.

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