An Extraordinary Italian Imprisonment, The Brutal Truth of Campo 21 1942-1943

B2125

Very little has been written about Italian PoW camps, against a mountain of books about camps in Germany and German Occupied Europe. As British and Italian forces had clashed in North Africa and Ethiopia, there were many British and Commonwealth servicemen who had been taken prisoner by the Italians and sent to camps in Italy. The Italian Armistice in September 1943 brought to an end the captivity of Allied PoWs in Italian camps, save for those who were in German-held Italy and who were then moved to PoW camps in Germany or German Occupied territory. This lack of coverage is unfortunate because not only were Allied PoWs in Italy involved in escapes and resistance, they were often subjected to a brutal regime that was harsher than even the most ruthless German camps. The author has provided an immaculately researched study of a camp in which his father had been imprisoned. The unique insights into the subject and the rare photographs in illustration provide a valuable expose of Italian treatment of PoWs. This is a book that should be widely read by all who have an interest in the subject of WWII and the realities of Fascism.

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NAME: An Extraordinary Italian Imprisonment, The Brutal Truth of Campo 21 1942-1943
DATE: 081214
FILE: R2125
AUTHOR: Brian Lett
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 251
PRICE: £25.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War Two, Second World War, Italy, Mediterranean, PoW, Campo 21, imprisonment, Chieti, Italian Armistice
ISBN: 1-47382-269-6
IMAGE: B2125.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/msjnksq
LINKS:
DESCRIPTION: Very little has been written about Italian PoW camps, against a mountain of books about camps in Germany and German Occupied Europe. As British and Italian forces had clashed in North Africa and Ethiopia, there were many British and Commonwealth servicemen who had been taken prisoner by the Italians and sent to camps in Italy. The Italian Armistice in September 1943 brought to an end the captivity of Allied PoWs in Italian camps, save for those who were in German-held Italy and who were then moved to PoW camps in Germany or German Occupied territory. This lack of coverage is unfortunate because not only were Allied PoWs in Italy involved in escapes and resistance, they were often subjected to a brutal regime that was harsher than even the most ruthless German camps. The author has provided an immaculately researched study of a camp in which his father had been imprisoned. The unique insights into the subject and the rare photographs in illustration provide a valuable expose of Italian treatment of PoWs. This is a book that should be widely read by all who have an interest in the subject of WWII and the realities of Fascism.

Campo 21 was run by committed Italian Fascists and the regime was brutal. Where PoWs in German camps were generally treated with respect in accordance with International Treaty standards, Italian camps were often run on very different lines and the prisoners treated as common criminals or worse. That difference in the running of camps made little difference to the behaviour of prisoners. There were escape committees, with numerous and ingenious attempts at escape.

When the Italians surrendered and joined the Allies against Germany, Campo 21 was one of the camps taken over by the Germans, who then relocated PoWs. The author has recognized the bravery of ordinary Italians who risked much to help Allied PoWs escape.
This book provides unique insight into the Allied PoWs held in Italian camps and specifically in Campo 21. Although the regime at Campo 21 was particularly brutal and the Senior British Officer ordered inmates not to leave when the Armistice came into force, morale remained high, even when they were transported to Germany. After the war, several Italian Camp staff were arrested for war crimes. Without reading this book, it is not possible to claim full knowledge of PoW camps in Europe during WWII. The similarities and differences between German camps and Italian camps provides a new understanding.

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