Graziani, Rodolfo “Butcher of Ethiopia” born 12-08-1882 in Filettino near Roma. son of Filippo Graziani, a physician, and his wife Adelia Clementi, daughter of a cattle rancher. The fourth of nine brothers, Graziani spent his childhood and early childhood in Affile, where his father had moved. He grew to be over six feet tall, with classical Roman looks. Graziani studied at the University of Rome an in 1903 he decided to pursue a military career. Graziani was stationed in Italian Eritrea and served in the Italo-Turkish War, where he was promoted to Captain. Wounded three times, intoxicated by the asphyxiating gases, he particularly distinguished himself in the capture of Mount San Michele and in the battle on Beretta Hill, two actions in which he proved himself a master of hand strikes. His colonial novitiate, which lasted four years and was interrupted by two serious incidents: the bite of a finger by a venomous reptile and a virulent attack of malaria. He was hospitalized for several months in the hospitals of Asmara and Massaua, but at the end of 1912 he was able to return to his homeland on a stretcher in the port of Naples. He saw action in World WarI and became the youngest Colonnelle, Colonel, in the Regio Esercito. Graziani with wife and daughter in 1915 In the 1920s, Graziani commanded the Italian forces in Libya. He was responsible for suppressing the Senussi rebellion. During this so-called “pacification”, he was responsible for the construction of several concentration camps and labor camps, where thousands of Libyan prisoners died. Some prisoners were killed by hanging, like Omar Kukhtar , or by shooting, but most prisoners died of starvation or disease. His deeds earned him the nickname “the Butcher of Fezzan” among the Arabs, but he was called by the Italians the Pacifier of Libya.
The main charge against the late marshal’s name and character rests on the infamous massacre on Yekatit 12, the date on the Ethiopian calendar equivalent to 19-02-1937, in Addis Ababa of an estimated 19,200 black Ethiopians over a three-day period. The massacre began immediately following Graziani’s near miraculous survival of an assassination attempt.
It is alleged that the Italians executed an additional 1,469 captives the following month. Graziani was forever branded afterward as the Butcher of Ethiopia. The tragedy was made even greater by the fact the slaughtered included 2,000 black monks of the ancient Coptic Order Debre Libanos Monastery, as well as attending pilgrims who were celebrating their founding saint.
In 1930, he became Vice-Governor of Cyrenaica and held this position until 1934, when it was determined that he was needed elsewhere. In 1935, Graziani was made the Governor of Italian Somalililand. The Senussi or Sanussi are a Muslim political-religious Sufi order and tribe in Libya and the Sudan region founded in Mecca in 1837 by the Grand Senussi, Sayyid Muhammadf ibn Ali as Senussi. Senussi was concerned with both the decline of Islamic thought and spirituality and the weakening of Muslim political integrity. From 1902 to 1913 the Senussi fought French expansion in the Sahara, and the Italian colonisation of Libya beginning in 1911. In World War I, the Senussi fought against the British in Egypt and Sudan. During World War II the Senussi tribe provided vital support to the British 8th Army in North Africa against the German and Italian forces. The Grand Senussi’s grandson became King Idris of Libya in 1951. In 1969, King Idris I was overthrown by a military coup led by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi . A third of the population in Libya continue to be affiliated with the Senussi movement. He became Governor General of Libya, Governor of Italian Somalia and Deputy Governor of Cyrenaica in the Second World War.
Graziani was defeated by the British Army in 1941 and was replaced by Benito Mussolini. In 1944, Graziani accepted the post of Minister of War in the newly formed “Republic of Salò” (Italian Social Republic), post he held until the final defeat in 1945. On 29-04-1945, General Graziani surrendered to the Allies, and after a period of detention as war prisoner in Algeria, he was tried and sentenced to nineteen years in prison but remained in prison just three years. The judges ruled that he had not had responsibilities in the decisions of the Government of Italian Social Republic.
This Italian fascist was the evil of all evil. He got many nicknames like:– The Hyena of Tripoli (capital city of Libya)- The butcher of Libya- The butcher of Arabs- The butcher of Addis Abeba (capital city of Ethiopia)- The butcher of Ethiopia. For example, after the attempt was made to kill him by grenades in 1937 AD, between 19,000-30,000 Ethiopians in Addis Abeba were barbarically slaughtered in just 3 days by his and other fascist officials order.
Death and burial ground of Graziani, Rodolfo “Butcher of Ethiopia” .
He here with Generalfeldmarschall Kesselring, Albert “Smiling Albert”.
was inducted in the United Nation list of war criminals for the use of poison gas and bombing of the Red Cross’s hospitals, but was never prosecuted for that. After the war he entered in politics life of post war but after some years he retired to private life. He died of natural causes at his home, age 72 on 11-01-1955 in Roma in Affile not far away from Rome. He is buried on the Affile Cemetery of Provence of Roma.
The tomb of the Marshal of Italy Rodolfo Graziani smeared in the cemetery of Affile (Rome) in April 2013