Campo P.G. 53 and Campo P.G. 56 Italy

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by vitellino, Jul 27, 2016.

  1. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    A few weeks ago a discussion took place on the forum about the correct name for Campo P.G. 53. I said I would do some research and here is the result:

    CAMPO P.G. 53

    A linen factory, which was to be found in the hamlet of Casette Verdini to the south west of the settlement of Sforzacosta in the direction of Urbisaglia, was designated as a site for a Prisoner of War Camp in July 1942.

    On the 10th of that month a communication was issued by the Italian Ministry of Defence, Prisoner of War Office, to the effect that

    two linen factories at Urbisaglia and Monturano should be immediately converted into Prisoner of War Camps each with a capacity of 12,000 prisoners.

    On 21 July the following instruction went out from the same office:

    With the compulsory occupation of the two linen factories at Monturano and Urbisaglia and of the barracks at Carinaro ( letter from this office dated 23 /6/42) it should be possible to accommodate 42,500 prisoners.

    The document went on to list all the work that was to be done to convert these sites into a Prisoner of War Camps.

    On 7 September 1942 a list was issued by the Prisoner of War Office giving the names and numbers of all Prisoner of War Camps in Italy. This list may not be copied but can be seen on, by selecting Camp P.G. 53 from the list of Campo per Prigionieri di Guerra, and clicking on Documenti. It states unequivocally that Campo P.G. 53 is named Urbisaglia (Macerata).

    P.G. 53 officially came into operation in October 1942 as can be learned from a communication dated 4 November 1942:

    We wish to inform you that in the month of October the following camps have started to function:

    URBISAGLIA Campo P.G. 53

    In 30 November 1942 there were 5.503 prisoners in the camp. A report dated December 31, 1942 indicates that was still under construction. On 13 March 1943 the number of inmates had risen to7,250, of whom were 7,061 British, 3 Canadian, and 286 white South African.

    When in February 1943 a damning inspection of the works being undertaken at CAMPO P.G. 53 came out, the name given to the camp continued to be URBISAGLIA. Indeed, on some of the lists showing the number of prisoners being held in each camp, sometimes the nearest railway station is also cited. That for P.G. 53 is given as Urbisaglia/Bonservizi in a document dated 31 MARCH 1943. The name Urbisaglia was never revoked by the Italian authorities.

    However, to the men inside, to the British authorities, the Swiss Legation (Protecting Power) and the International Red Cross, it was known as SFORZACOSTA. Documentation held in the National Archives, London refers to it as such:

    WO 224/120 Reports on the camp from the International Red Cross and the Protecting Power
    WO 224/165 Reports on the associated hospital from the International Red Cross and Protecting Power
    WO 361/1873 Missing Personnel 1939-45
    WO 361/1891 International Red Cross Report
    WO 392/21 Italy Imperial Prisoners of War Alphabetical List

    It would be interesting to know whether the name Urbisaglia dated from an earlier project to set up a camp in or near the town which was then abandoned in favour of the linen factory.

    CAMPO P.G. 56

    On the circular of 7 September 1942 the Italian Ministry of Defence gives the number P.G. 56 to the camp located at SFORZACOSTA (Macerata). Later that month, in response to severe weather, the camp, which was tented, was dismantled for the winter but was never reopened. Its exact location is not defined by the website and I have found no other documentation referring to it.

    The Villa Giustiniani, adjacent to the Cistercian Abbey of Fiastra, which lies close to the road between Urbisaglia and Sforzacosta, was used as a concentration camp for civilian internees under the jurisdiciton of the Italian Ministry of the Interior. On 23 July 1944 eighty-eight Jews of various nationalities were being interned there. More information (in Italian) is available on

    alieneyes and dbf like this.
  2. Philip GW Baker

    Philip GW Baker New Member

    I sometimes receive emails from people to my website saying that their father/grandfather/etc was a POW in a place called Settore - eg Settore 1 PG53 or something similar. In fact settore is not a place, it means 'sector'.
  3. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Philip,

    Quite true. Two camps about which I have written - PG 54 and PG 82 - see my website for the latter - were divided into more than one sector and each had its own Man of Confidence.


  4. tedfromscrubs

    tedfromscrubs Junior Member

    vitellino likes this.

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