I declare that I am Nicoletta Di Luzio, daughter of Domenico Di Luzio and Maria Cionna, both deceased. I am 16 years old, and I lived with my family in Torricella Peligna until the end of 1943, at which time the Germans ordered us to leave the town. At first we settled in an area called Santa Giusta, and then later, we settled into an abandoned house in a small inhabited area called Sant’Agata. We arrived there around June 19, 1944. Besides myself, there was my mother, my sister, Vincenzina, my two brothers, Leonardo and Antonio, my uncle, Camillo Cionna, my aunt, Rosina Di Paolo, and their 4 children, Enzo, Gemma, Annamaria and Anita. Around 5 am on June 21, 1944, we were awoken by German soldiers who broke into our house. They shouted “raus, raus”, and they made us get out of bed. They didn’t say anything else. My mother lit the fireplace, but the Germans threw water on it and put it out. Two soldiers remained at the door as guards while the others went out and gathered more people to bring into the room. One of them threw a grenade towards the door of the room. Then he closed the door and held it closed from outside with a rope. When the grenade exploded there was a lot of smoke, and I thought he wanted to gas us. Then I heard a woman cry out that she was wounded, and I then understood that it was grenade. Then, from outside the Germans threw around 30 grenades towards the fireplace in the room. There were two sorts of grenades, one, which they unhooked by pulling a ring with their finger, and one, which they unhooked with their teeth. I was seated next to the fireplace holding in my arms my 6-year-old cousin, Annamaria. When the third grenade went off, she died. After the Germans stopped throwing grenades, there were dead and disfigured people all over the room and a big hole in the floor. Some of the dead and wounded fell through this hole to the barn below. I had not been wounded, and in an effort to escape, I fell through the hole to the barn below. I tried to hide under the bodies of a man and my aunt. I managed only partially because the bodies were so heavy. A little later a German soldier entered the barn and looked around. I pretended to be dead. He was just above me, and he burned my neck with a cigarette lighter. I didn’t move, and I heard him say “Kaputt”. Then he went out. Then I saw through a hole that the Germans brought some hay and spread it on the bodies. They then poured some liquid on the hay and lit it. Later I moved over to where my two brothers were hiding in a trough. My brother Leonardo tried to escape from the barn, but the Germans shot at him with a machine gun as soon as he took a step outside the barn door. He died near the door. Later on, the smoke got so strong that I couldn’t stay any longer, and so I tried to escape. As I started to go outside the door, I saw a German soldier, and he saw me. I turned around in an effort to turn back, but he shot at me and the bullet hit me in the back. I fell down in the barn, and I remained outstretched on the ground for some time. My brother was still in the trough. I heard him weep and say that he wanted to get out, and that since all his family was dead, he wanted to die as well. So, I went to the trough and remained with him. There was less smoke in the barn because the door had remained open. After about an hour, when all was calm, I left the barn with my brother, and we went to a neighboring farmhouse. A lady and her daughter took my brother and me to Gessopalena where they medicated my wounds. The German soldiers were from an alpine division, and I would be able to recognize them if I saw them because I had seen them previously in front of our house in Torricella Peligna. The above declaration is true, and the descriptions I have given come from my observations.
(Public Hospital) – Vasto, February 12, 1944
Captain Jesse B. Mayforth, a.c.a.v.s.C.A.P.D.3’Army AMG
Regno d’Italia (Kingdom of Italy), Province of Chieti. I declare that my name is Victor Reiss, and that on February 12, 1944, under oath as an official interpreter for the Allied Military Government, I read the above declaration to Nicoletta Di Luzio in Italian, and that she said the declaration conforms to the facts as she recalls.
Signed under oath, February 12, 1944