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Research Project on Camps in Italy

Dr Roman Herzog, political scientist and documentalist, has spent two days at the archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS) looking through records on camps in Italy. He got an overview of the holdings available on Italy and Italian persecutees. Among other files, the archives include ITS correspondence with the Italian Ministry of the Interior and the Red Cross on camps and the persons interned there as well as individual documents from the camps. “We are a team of researchers that intends generating a list of all Fascist camps in Italy. Following my visit to Arolsen I am in a position to complete the list by at least 20 new names“, says Herzog.

The research project, guided by the association of independent audio documentary authors Audiodoc, aims to work out a new topography of Italy during the era of Fascism and the country’s ulterior occupation by Germany. “Apart from the names of the camps, it is to include all essential elements such as a camp history and all relevant data. This will also allow us to draw a comparison between Italian and German concentration and detention camps.” Herzog had already pursued research in various archives before coming to the ITS. “I didn’t expect to come across such an abundance of information at the ITS.”  

In Italy the proper naming of the various camps constitutes a problem. As of 1926, communists and ordinary criminals as well as deportees from the colonies were systematically interned. “Concentration camps came to exist as of 1940“, reports Herzog. “That the names for concentration camps, internment camps and detention centres were confused with one another is a fact that is also evidenced by the documents at the ITS”, explains the 44-year old.

Herzog had received comprehensive documentary material from the ITS archives in 2009 already. At the time, the project focused on the fate suffered by Italian military internees. The results of his current research are available on the website www.campifascisti.it