Transport to German prisoner-of-war camps

The Wehrmacht transported about 650,000 Italians to prisoner-of-war camps in the German Reich, to the occupied territories in Poland and to the Eastern Front. The journeys lasted between ten days and three weeks. Many trains and ships were overcrowded and the hygienic conditions catastrophic. The Italians were hungry and did not get enough water. They were rarely allowed to leave the trains. The population at the stations sometimes provided help. Many soldiers did not know where they were being taken. Some believed they would return home. The longer the transports lasted, the greater their despair became. In total, about 25,000 Italian military personnel lost their lives during the capture and transport.

„Latest news, scribbled paper scraps, ... an address to let the family know that we were seen doing well during the deportation ...“

Claudio Sommaruga, 2001

"Arrival" photo series

The photo series shows the arrival of a transport of about 800 Italian soldiers in Fürstenberg/Oder. They covered the way from the station to the Stalag on foot and under guard. The photographs were taken by Lieutenant Heinrich Voss. He was responsible for building the camp. His photographs are among the few photographic evidence of the arrival of Italians in a prisoner-of-war camp. The composition and selection of the motifs correspond to NS propaganda photos.

From the exhibition

The former officer Lodovico Lisi drew a series of 17 watercolours 50 years after his imprisonment. The motifs depict special moments of captivity. The pictures selected here show capture and transport from Bolzano in September 1943. They give an impression of the violence, overcrowding and confinement.
Drawings represent a special source genre. They interpret the events from the draughtsman's personal point of view.