A neglected story: German prisoners of war in Italy (1945-1947)

Fererico Niglia


The story of the detention of German prisoners in Italy transcends the experience just of the German army; it represents also an important moment for the story of many Italians. In Italian contemporary historiography what has been called the “saga of the vanquished” is gathering momentum. After a long period characterized by the ideological prohibition of studying the ‘wicked’, in the last two decades historians and writers of history are paying increasing attention to the people and groups that decided to remained loyal to Fascism. In this perspective a comprehensive assessment of the structures and rules that characterized the Allied camps in Italy can also contribute to a better understanding of the story of Fascist prisoners in the hands of the Anglo-Americans, and on the impact of Allied policies on an Italy which was both ally and ex-enemy; liberated and conquered. The experience of the internment of German prisoners after liberation represents, paradoxically, a significant moment both for the process of epuration from Fascism and the building of neo-fascist identity.

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