Close to where the Mausoleum now stands, at down on Thursday 22nd June 1944 a terrible tragedy took place, with the shooting of 40 innocent people who had been taken in reprisal by the Nazi army.
On the afternoon of the 20th June a German medical officer was killed and another was wounded by a GAP (Patriotic Action Guard) patrol in a bar in the town.
Immediately the German army started rounding up people from the town and continued until the evening of the 20th when the bishop Monsignor Ubaldi intervened.
He had been given assurance by the German Commander of the area that reprisals would not go ahead as long as further incidents did not occur.
Yet the following day the rounding up continued with even more determination, and went further afield.
Men and women were taken, young and old.
Some were allowed to go free after a cursory interrogation, others were kept and had no hope of escape.
During the night, in the early hours of 22nd June, some of them were dragged, unknowingly, to dig a mass grave.
Shortly afterwards, against the wall that still shows the bullet holes, the others were tied like beasts to the slaughter and crudely slain.
Those still alive were finished off with a pistol shot.
The bodies were then covered with a scattering of earth.
“An infernal genius seems to have deliberately choosen 40 innocent people to be slaughtered, 40 pitiful cases, many in terrible, heartrending situations.
A mother and her daughter, the only son of a sick mother, a father of five children, of ten children, the father of five children whose mother was no longer alive, two brothers, a father and son, honest workers of the fields and the town, young men, two men who were deaf and dumb” (Monsignor O. Rogari).
The townspeople, shocked and stunned, gathered in solidarity around the families of the victims, and sharing their suffering.
This Mausoleum was built in memory of the forty innocent Martyrs and as a warning to all humanity that war always brings death, ruin, and hatred.