Ugo Brilli was born in 1922 and grew up in Tuscany. At the age of 21 he was drafted into military service by the Italian army in May 1943. In September of the same year Italy withdrew from the war. Wehrmacht soldiers then arrested all Italian military personnel, including Ugo Brilli. Because he, like many other Italian soldiers, did not want to continue fighting for Hitler and Mussolini, the Wehrmacht deported him to a prisoner-of-war camp in Luckenwalde, Brandenburg.
From there he came to Berlin as a forced laborer. At Siemens he had to clear debris, later he worked in a carpenter's workshop.
At the beginning of his captivity Ugo Brilli weighed 71 kg, in the end only 48 kg. Ugo Brilli was released from captivity in 1944, but had to remain in Berlin as a civilian forced laborer. He was sent to a forced labor camp in Berlin-Weissensee. There his work as a kitchen help saved his life. He bribed the German head of the camp kitchen with cigarettes so that he could keep the work there, because in the camp kitchen he could occasionally eat a little more than the other forced laborers. Through great luck he survived a bomb attack in Berlin-Weissensee, in which 53 of his comrades died in the camp.
From the end of 1944 he was accommodated in the GBI camp no. 75/76 in Schöneweide. Here, too, he worked as a kitchen helper. During the last days of the war, Ugo Brilli waited for the ongoing fighting in the air-raid shelter. The supply collapsed and he had to search for food in the neighbouring cellars. In September 1945 Ugo Brilli returned to his family in Italy, seriously ill with typhoid fever. He married and had two children. Today Ugo Brilli lives in northern Italy.