Italien / Andere

Colle di Compito concentration camp




Colle di Compito concentration camp, in Capannori, was established in July 1942 and soon after reached 4000 Allied prisoners. After a few months, the camp was decommissioned, and then re-opened by the Italian Social Republic following the Armistice, when it held political internees, Jews and common prisoners.

With Italy's entry into the war, transit, concentration and labour camps were established throughout the country for Allied prisoners captured on the African fronts and in the Mediterranean. Some 70,000 military personnel were detained in Italy within three years, both British (including the various Commonwealth states) and to a lesser extent American.

Colle di Compito camp, located in the town of Capannori, was founded in July 1942 with camps in a marshy area. At the end of September, there were 3970 internees, divided as follows: 2224 British, 1737 South Africans, 3 Middle Easterners, 2 Indians, 3 Serbs and one of unspecified nationality. Delegates of the International Red Cross inspected the camp and denounced the poor conditions in which the prisoners were forced to live, such as overcrowding, lack of a sewage system, poor sanitation and infirmary, lack of books and leisure activities. The situation worsened with the presence of insects and mosquitoes that caused several cases of malaria, with at least 180 British people admitted to the military hospital in Lucca. On 2 September 1942, during an escape attempt, 24-year-old Briton Sidney Fawcett was killed by a sentry. The first autumn rains and the lack of water runoff caused the situation to worsen, combined with the lack of camp lighting and the absence of heating in the tents. It was decided to close the facility temporarily and the prisoners were transferred to other facilities by mid-November.

The following year the camp was reactivated. With the Armistice of Cassibile it was plundered by the local population. Two days later, on 10 September 1943, Captain Massimo De Felice, Colonel Vincenzo Cione and Private Domenico Mastrippolito were killed by German forces for refusing to hand over British prisoners. The escape of these prisoners resulted in the emergence of helpers in the form of farmers and local people who provided shelter and protection, food and accommodation to the escaped Allied soldiers.

Later, the camp was re-used by the Italian Social Republic for the internment of civilians and held 250 to 300 people. The Republican National Guard and the T. M. Battalion 'Mirio Ferrari' played a management and surveillance role. Politicians, Jews and ordinary prisoners were interned here. In June 1944, following a machine-gun attack, the camp was definitively closed, and the internees transferred to Bagni di Lucca.

Via Vicinale, Capannori, località Colle di Compito, 55012