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

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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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