On March 8, 1944, 115 young men from Empoli, located some 39 km west of Florence, were deported to Germany to work in the Nazi war effort. Just 23 of them returned home after World War II.
On March 8, 1997 (the 53rd anniversary of this deportation), Mayor Vittorio Bugli and Mayor Rudolf Honeder contracted to make Empoli a partner city of St.Georgen/Gusen, where the KZ Gusen II (Bergkristall) tunnels are located.
From May 2 to 4, 1997, an official delegation from Empoli visited St.Georgen/Gusen, and Mayor Vittorio Bugli gave an official commemorational address at the 3rd local-international commemoration.
Meanwhile, several exchange programs between students from Empoli and St. Georgen/Gusen and different local associations were arranged and shall be developped further.
On March 10, 2017 the twinning agreement between Empoli and St. Georgen/Gusen was renewed in a solemn ceremony by mayors Brenda Barnini and Erich Wahl as representatives of a new generation of European regional politicians that are willing to cooperate across Europe in order to serve democracy, respect and humanity. A short footage about the renewal by Florence TV can be found at Youtube.