Nazi Fucecchio massacre statements traced by auctioneer
A Shropshire auctioneer has helped to trace evidence for a trial of alleged Nazi war criminals in Italy.
Papers belonging to Sgt Charles Edmonson, from Stoke-on-Trent, were sold to a Chinese buyer by Mullock's auction house last year.
They were witness statements taken by Sgt Edmonson after the Fucecchio Marshes massacre, in which Nazi troops killed about 200 villagers in 1944.
Italian lawyers intend to use them as evidence in a forthcoming trial.
Village resistance fighters had killed two Nazis, so troops killed about 200 villagers in a revenge attack.
Mr Edmonson had been sent to investigate the massacre in 1945 and kept copies of the witness statements.
They were sold after his death at auction in 2010.
Italian lawyers contacted Mullock's auctioneer Richard Westwood-Brookes to help trace the papers.
The auctioneer said: "Sgt Edmonson compiled a complete dossier of witness statements for his own use, mainly because he didn't trust the Italian authorities to carry out the investigations that were needed.
"We sold these papers last year at our sale in Ludlow in April. I thought that was the end of it, they were bought by a collector and that was that.
"A couple of days ago I was contacted by lawyers in Italy who told me that three people had been arrested for allegedly taking part in the massacre and were being tried in Rome," he added.
The lawyers contacted Mr Westwood-Brookes to help trace the whereabouts of the papers.
He said: "I had an email yesterday from the buyer who said that he was incredibly sympathetic to the whole thing and he has now contacted the lawyers in Italy and will be making the papers available to them."