From BBC WW2 Peoples War.

Apr 13th, 2012

This is from a fellow Prisoner taken from:

The first prison of war camp in which I lived was in Gravina in Italy. It was divided into four sections, each to hold 2,000 men. Those lucky enough to have a bed found that they were built of wood and were designed to hold two men in the top bunk and two below; each barrack room held 48 men. It was tantamount to living in a beeline. The water supply to the camp would fail to function for days on end, as a result, the place would become disgusting.

The fences outside the camp were patrolled by sentries, posted every forty metres or so. The Canalimieni (police) were under a separate command and were feared more by the Italians than by the British and colonial prisoners. In fact, the Canalimieni at that time were very closely related to the Gestapo and sometimes used similar methods. Quarters were frequently searched; the storage of food was prohibited. The possession of knives, compasses, wire cutters, no matter how crude, was also prohibited. Anything that may assist an escape such as civilian clothing or shoes, if found, were confiscated by the police.

The food supply was very meagre, hardly enough for a child to live on, let alone a man. A typical day’s food consisted of: bread…….200 grams, cheese……..40 grams and rice or macaroni……..60 grams. In addition to this, each man was allowed one teaspoonful of olive oil and one teaspoonful of sugar. On Saturdays, each man was allowed a small meat portion.

In the camp, men were allowed to write a letter or a card every ten days, but when they had been written, they were censored by the Italians. Any that were deemed ‘not suitable’, were confiscated.

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