Monte Cassino was captured by the Allies on May 18, 1944. The next night, thousands of Goumiers and other colonial troops of the French Expeditionary Corps (FEC), commanded by General Alphonse Juin, scoured the slopes of the hills surrounding the town and the villages of Southern Lazio. Italian victims' associations such as “Associazione Nazionale Vittime delle Marocchinate” alleged that 60,000 women, ranging in age from 11 to 86, suffered from violence, when village after village came under control of the Goumiers. However, estimates made by the Italian Ministry of Defence in 1997 set the figure at 2,000 to 3,000 female victims. In fact, due to incomplete reports of the crimes, a precise account is impossible.
With the help of our Canadian war historian Gianni Blasi, lawyers in Italy, and testimonials from Canadian survivors, we will attempt to factually document what really occurred in the Italian countryside during this unprecedented time in history.