From POW Camp to Civil Internment Camp: PG 52 and PG 73 Italy

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by vitellino, Nov 11, 2017.

  1. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    It is a little known fact that after the Italian Armistice of 8 September 1943, and the subsequent take-over of the POW camps by the German military and their Fascist supporters, several were used not only as transit camps but also as civilian internment camps. Two such camps spring readily to mind - PG 52 at Coreglia Ligure-Calvari (misleadingly referred to in British documentation as Chiavari) and PG 73 at Fossoli (Carpi di Modena).

    Here is the translation of part of an article dealing with PG 52:

    The civil internment camp at Calvari
    by Antonio A. Piga

    Campo PG 52 was set up at the beginning of 1941 and continued to function until July 1944 when it was finally closed and dismantled. Built by military engineers, it was sited in the Lavagna flood plain between the river and the hillside. There were 44 wooden barracks and a brick building housing the kitchens, a refectory, a library, an assembly room, a chapel, a theatre and a shop. In another building set aside from the rest there was an infirmary. All told it could hold around 4,000 prisoners.

    With the setting up of the Repubblica Sociale Italiana following the Armistice of 8 September 1943 the camp was used to accommodate about 100 Jews, arrested from the end of November 1943 onwards. The last group left the camp for Germany on 21 January 1944. It was then turned over to political prisoners, mainly from the province of Genoa, of whom there were 93 in total, including 8 women who did not hold Italian citizenship. The political prisoners were sent in batches to the Camp at Fossoli (the former PG 73) and from there to Germany. These transfers were brought to an end around the middle of June 1944.

    One of the political internees, author Leonida Balestreri, active in the political movement known as Justice and Freedom, wrote in a letter to his family on 23 March 1944 that:

    Today, 23 days after my arrest, I have been interrogated. The judge put a few brief questions to me, after which I was given the reason for my detention: I was accused of vilifying Fascism and its institutions during the period between 2 August and 8 September 1943, for which I was to be tried by a Special Tribunal.

    On 13 May 1944 the Provincial Military command handed over the running of the camp to the civil authorities. In actual fact the situation protracted itself until 7 July 1944 when the camp was dismantled and the wood and other usable building materials were taken away by the locals.

    What happened at PG 73 can be discovered on

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  2. Felicia

    Felicia New Member

    Jimmy52. Thanks for this. Does anyone know to which POW camp in Germany the captive South African soldiers, (previously held in Camp 52 Coreglia Ligure-Calvari) were sent towards the end of the war.
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Felicia

    The members name is Vitellino - wheres Jimmy52??

    If you provide a name, initials, service number etc or a combination of we can probably find out which camp your man was in. They would not all have been sent to a single camp I think, but distributed to where needed to work in the associated work camps.

  4. Felicia

    Felicia New Member

    Hi, The name is EWT Smyth, Regimental number 79669, Transvaal Scottish. The Imperial prisoners of war document indicates that he was held in Italy in 1943 in Camp 52, PianDi Coreglia (Genova).
  5. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Felicia,

    EWT Smyth was sent from PG 52 to Stalag 18C Markt Pongau in Austria (formerly Stalag 317). He appears in WO 392/1 - Imperial Prisoners of war held in Germany and German - Occupied territories. The last prisoners left PG 52 for Germany on 15 September:

    3957688 Sgt. Evan Llewellyn Edwards, The Welch Regiment, who testified at the Nuremberg Trials, indicates when the transfer took place:

    On 15th September 1943 after the capitulation of Italy, the German forces took control of PG 52, where I was a prisoner of war. The men in the camp were put into barrack groups and a number of groups were detailed to move by rail to Germany.

    I am currently preparing a website on PG 52 which I hope will be ready early in the new year,

    Tricky Dicky and 4jonboy like this.
  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945
    Name: E W T Smyth
    Rank: Pte
    Army Number: 79669
    POW Number: 39075
    Camp Number: 18C
    Section: South African Land Forces : Officers and Other Ranks

  7. Felicia

    Felicia New Member

    Thank you Vitelino and TD for your welcome help. I am Temple Smyth's niece and sole surviving next of kin and look forward with anticipation to the Website on PG 52. In the interim I shall try to visit the village in Italy in which he started his long POW life. I might be able to contribute some small items of interest to your website once it is operational.
  8. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  9. Felicia

    Felicia New Member

    My thanks again to the two experts Vitellino and TD, who have assisted me so generously. I will now get to work following up all the leads and information you have provided. Felicia
  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Not experts, just been around here a little longer than yourself

    You may also need to try obtaining his SA service records - info in this thread - Researching a South African Serviceman

  11. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Do let us know what you find out - a photo would go well on my website,

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  12. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello everybody interested in PG 52.

    On Wednesday I shall be visiting the Telecommunications Museum in Chiavari where all the Camp's record cards are now held.

    If anyone would like me to photograph their relatives' card please send me a private message,


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