Research of descendants and survivors on POW Camp 65 Gravina-Altamura Italy

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by Domenico Bolognese, Nov 1, 2018.

  1. CAMPO SESSANTACINQUE

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    1942: anno XX fascist era. In between the Apulian cities of Altamura and Gravina in South Italy, a brand new military camp has been just finished.

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    36 barracks are ready to “receive” almost 9000 commonwealth’s soldiers captured in Tobruk and mainly North Africa in what is going to become the biggest Italian POW camp during WW2.

    Campo Prigionieri di Guerra 65 (P.G.65) is born.

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    During the following 2 years, those men went through a chronic lack of food and water.
    Despite such a difficult times, prisoners organized shows, a music band, box matches (in spectacular rings as described by one of the Red Cross inspectors visiting the camp). One of the barrack was fully furnished with furniture made from the Red Cross Parcels’ wooden covers received from Canada.

    A mini-economy was established fueled by the little liras allowed to prisoners and by the small bargains with soldiers and local farmers.

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    Nevertheless many suffered of various disease; 70 of them didn’t make it. The others were shortly going to be moved in Northern Italy and then in German’s Stalag. Some tried to escape but were recaptured shortly afterward. Just a few were so lucky to be exchanged with italian prisoners.

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    Autumn 1943 camp 65 was evacuated. In few months it would be re-occupied by the Allies that established a training camp for Yugoslavian partisans, man and women, to be sent on the Balcans to help Tito’s liberation army to kick the Germans out of the country … but that’s another story.

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    2017 … 75 years later most of the buildings are gone along with the memory of the camp among the people in the local communities. What is not “gone” is the remembrance of the descendants and their love for the beloved that suffered here.


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    75 years later a local history buff, which is me, has started to collect one by one individual stories of the prisoners trying to contact as many descendants as possible all around the world: letters, pictures, anecdotes that has passed the millennium keeping their intensity and strength almost intact.

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    I have welcomed sons, daughters and nephews from England, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, US, Israel and many more are scheduled to come.

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    Thanks to the support of the local municipality and media, the story of the camp is coming to the surface with an ever growing interest and enthusiasm from everybody.

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    But we are only at the beginning. The ruins of the camp are at danger of collapse also because the nearby Military Base, still active since WW2, is running military exercises today.

    The camp and its memories can be saved only by creating a memorial museum on the site.

    There is also another wish or better say another “miracle” to happen: find at least one survivor.

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    THANK YOU TO EVERYBODY THAT WILL HELP ME TO GET ME IN TOUCH WITH DESCENDANTS AND SURVIVORS !!! MY EMAIL IS DBOLOGNESE69(AT)GMAIL.COM
     

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