Research

This section contains posts designed to help academics and family researchers investigate the activities of prisoners of war and partisans in Italy between 1943 and 1945, as well as those of the contadini – the subsistence farmers who risked their lives in sheltering and feeding escapers. It also contains research articles.

Allied POWs in Italy in the Second World War

This list focuses on the Allied POW experience in Italy in the Second World War, concentrating on first-hand accounts that cover imprisonment, escape, reaching Switzerland/Allied lines or recapture and transportation to Germany, and, in some instances, postwar return visits to Italy. The date is of first publication, with later editions included only in certain instances. Some Italian editions are also mentioned but the list is predominantly of publications in English. Please write with any suggestions for additonal titles to: jcgmackenzie@gmail.com

Bibliography Nov 2019

Indian prisoners of war

The sacrifices made by Indian soldiers in the Second World War are an extraordinary, largely forgotten aspect of the conflict. In Italy alone, nearly 50,000 Indians (South Asians) participated in the fighting and some became prisoners of war (PoWs) in Italian camps. Their experiences have been researched by Prof. Annu Palakunnathu Matthew, Professor of Art (photography) at the University of Rhode Island, USA.

Her photo-based artwork is a blend of still and moving imagery, and her larger work draws on archival photographs as a source of inspiration to re-examine historical narratives. As she describes in the article accessible below, Prof. Matthew embarked on her research in 2018 after coming across stories of Indian PoWs and the brave Italian families who sheltered them after their escape from camps. In the course of her investigation, she completed a six-month Fulbright scholarship in India collecting photos and stories. In 2020, for the Monte San Martino Trust, she kindly wrote the article accessible below, which describes her findings up to that point and focuses on the stories of two Indian PoWs in particular.

Read the full article here

Annu Palakunnathu Matthew

Prof. Matthew can be contacted at ItalyIndianPOW@gmail.com

Her website is http://www.annumatthew.com/aboutannu/