Internment - Extermination Camps
1800 A.D. to Present

The Lager in Italy
Adriatisches Kuestenland - Litorale Adriatico - Operation Zone Adriatic Sea Coastal Area

During the second World War about 40.000 Italians were dragged away from their homes by the militiamen of the Italian Fascists (the Social Republic of Italy) or by the occupying German troops and deported into the concentration camps that the Nazis had set up in the whole Europe for the physical elimination of political opponents, Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah's witnesses: more than 1,600 camps, considering both the bigger and the smaller ones, where millions of men, women and children were imprisoned and killed. Of the Italian deportees, the Jews were slightly fewer than 10,000, and about 30,000 were the partisans, antifascists, workers who were arrested after the big strikes of March 1944. Not more than 4,000 out of these 40,000 came back. 90% of them died, wiped out by Hitler's machine of extermination. 

Italians were deported to:

  • Majdanek
  • Mauthausen
  • Natzveiler 
  • Neuengamme
  • Ravensbrück
  • Risiera di San Sabba (Trieste)
  • Sachsenhausen
  • Stutthof
  • Terezin
  • Unterlüss

Concentration Camps in Italy

Concentration camps did not exist in Italy until it entered the war on June 10, 1940. At that time, foreign Jews who had not complied with the 1938 order to leave the country, were jailed.

On September 4, 1940 the Ministry of the Interior ordered the establishment of 43 concentration camps. In addition to the thousands of foreign nationals and stateless Jews, 200 Italian opponents to the Fascist regime were interned. The conditions in the camps were much better than in Germany. Families lived together, there were schools, social welfare activities and cultural activities. For the most part the prisoners worked only in camp services.

The Italian armistice of September 8, 1943 was a dramatic turning point for the camps. When the government of Pietro Badoglio fled to the south, camp inmates, including those at Ferramonti di Tarsia, the largest installation, were set free. On the other hand, the bulk of the Jewish population, which was in the north, fell under German rule with the birth of the Fascist Republic of  Salò when a large portion of Italy becoming part of the territory goverment by the Third Reigh. The provinces in question were Trieste, Gorizia, Udine (as well as Fiume, Pola, Lubiana and some occupied territories in Dalmatia). They joined together in what was to be known as the "Adriatisches Kuestenland"The provinces of Belluno, Trento and Bolzano were similarly removed from Italian authorities and became part of the "Operationszone Alpenvorland" (Operational Area of the Prealpi). The "Adriatic Coast" was entrusted to the authority of Gauleiter, from the Carinzia Friedrich Rainer, who took over complete political and administrative power from 1st October 1943.

In October and November Jews in Trieste, Rome, Genoa, Florence, Milan, Venice, Ferrara, and other places, were seized and interned. On November 30, 1943, G. Buffarini Guidi, the minister of the Interior in Benito Mussolini's satellite state, ordered that all Jews be put into concentration camps. Jews were hunted down.

The conditions in the camps varied greatly. Some were under Italian command, others joint Italian-German command, and still others under German command. Some were labor camps and others transit camps, from which Jews were deported east. There were three main camps - Fossoli, Bolzano and La Risiera di San Sabba. The other main assembly points for Jews were in Mantua, the San Vittore prison in Milan, and Borge San Dalmazzo.

City governors (prefetti) and mayors (podestà) ended up under the control of "German Councillors". Both the formation of the Fascist Militia and the various police units were directly answerable to the German Authorities. The police units were also engaged in thorough anti-partisan search operations. One of the units of particular relevance was the Special Inspectorate for the Public Security of Venezia Guilia that was under the command of the Inspector General Giuseppe Gueli. Since 1942 this Inspectorate, with its Head Office in the notorious "Villa Trieste" of Via Bellosguardo, was set up with the specific purpose of enforcing anti-partisan repression and controlling the organisation of the factory workers.

The operational section of the Inspectorate became sadly known as the "Banda Collotti" ("Collotti’s Gang") named after its Commander Gaetano Collotti. After the 8th September the "Banda Collotti" continued its anti-partisan activity under German command and was well remembered for its significant role in the capturing of the Jews.

Clickable Map

Campo di Fossoli Campo di Bolzano Campo di San Sab

The Einsatzkommando Reinhard

The SS were in charge of Police control within the Adriatisches Kustenland as well as supervising political, racial and anti-partisan repression. The Commander of the SS was Trieste-born Odilo Lotario Globocnik (1904-1945?). 

The primary camps in Italy were:

Some of the other camps in Italy were exclusively for female prisoners:

  • Pollenza, Treia, Petriolo (Macerata);
  • Casacalenda, Vinchiaturo (Campobasso);
  • Lanciano (Chieti);
  • Solofra (Avellino).
Towards the end of 1940 there were approximately 260 women prisoners, among which were 62 Jewish foreigners.

There were also concentration camps for men:

  • Fabriano, Sassoferrato (Ancona);
  • Ariano Irpino, Monteforte Irpino, Campagna (Salerno);
  • Civitella del Tronto, Corropoli, Isola del Gran Sasso, Notaresco, Tortoreto, Tossicia, Neretto, Tollo (Teramo);
  • Agnone, Bioano, Isernia (Campobasso);
  • Casoli, Lama dei Peligni, Istonio (Chieti);
  • Alberobello, Gioia del Colle (Bari);
  • Manfredonia, Tremiti (Foggia);
  • Urbisaglia (Macerata);
  • Civitella della Chiana (Arezzo);
  • Bagno a Ripoli, Montalbano (Firenze)
  • Farfa Sabina (Rieti);
  • Scipione di Salsomaggiore, Montechiarugolo (Parma);
In February 1942 were launched
  • Colfiorito di Foligno (Perugia),
  • Castel di Guido (Roma),
  • Fraschette di Alatri (Frosinone),
  • Città Sant’Angelo (Pescara),
  • Pisticci (Matera),
  • Ferramonti di Tarsia (Cosenza),
  • Lipari (Messina),
  • Ustica (Palermo), and
  • Fertilia (Sassari).
Some of these camps, located in the Central North, were reopened in October 1943 and utilized, among others, as "campi di raccolta provinciali per gli ebrei italiani” until January 944. Other than those mentioned above were:
  • Aosta,
  • Calvari di Chiavari,
  • Ferrara,
  • Forlì,
  • Roccatederighi (Grosseto),
  • Vo’ Vecchio (Padova),
  • Sondrio,
  • Verona,
  • Piani di Tonezza (Vicenza),
  • Ponticelli Terme (Parma),
  • Servigliano (Ascoli Piceno),
  • Bagni di Lucca (Lucca),
  • Sforzacosta.
Not listed above (?) - Anghiari.Carpi...
Recommended readings (by Brunello Mantelli, Dipartimento di Storia dell'Università di Torino)
  1. Liliana Picciotto Fargon, Il libro della memoria. Gli ebrei deportati dall'Italia 1943-1945, Milano, Mursia, 1991 (ricerca analitica di grande valore) [analytic research of great value]
  2. Klaus Voigt, Il rifugio precario, Firenze, La nuova Italia (2 volumi) (sugli ebrei tedeschi ed austriaci rifugiati in Italia) [on German and Austrian Jews who fled to Italy]
  3. Michele Sarfatti, Mussolini contro gli ebrei, Torino, Zamorani, 1994 (sul rapporto tra fascismo italiano ed ebrei; di gran lunga superiore e scientificamente più fondato del vecchio ed ormai inutilizzabile studio di De Felice) [On the relationship between Italian fascism and Jews, much more superior and more scientifically based than the old and by now unusable study of De Felice]
  4. Ibid., Gli ebrei nell'Italia fascista, Torino, Einaudi, 1999 (un quadro generale accuratissimo e basato su una documentazione archivistica finora ineguagliata) [A most accurate general study and based on archival documentation that has been unrivaled up until now]
  5. Roberto Maiocchi, Scienza italiana e razzismo fascista, Firenze, La nuova Italia, 1999.
  6. Molto utile infine Adolfo Scalpelli, ed., San Sabba. Istruttoria e processo per il Lager della Risiera, Trieste, ANED-Lint Ed., 1994 (dedicato agli atti del processo celebrato a Trieste contro i membri dell'Einsatzkommando Reinhard, guidato da Odilo Globocnik, che fecero funzionare a Trieste, nel periodo 1943-45, l'unico campo di sterminio attivo in Italia). [dedicated to the famous proceedings in Trieste against the members of the 'Einsatzkommando Reinhard, led by Odilo Globocnik, who made function in Trieste in the priod 1943-45 the only extermination camp active in Italy.]


  • Text: Associazione Nazionale ex Deportati Politici nei Campi Nazisti (ANED) - (Deutsch, English, Francais & Italiano)
  • Text: Simon Wiesenthal Center - Museum of Tolerance / Encyclopedia of the Holocaust -
  • Text: The Nizkor Project - Shofar Archive - Globocnik -
  • Text:
  • Photograph (Globocnik) -
  • Clickable maps - Viaggio fra i campi di concentramento e stermino nazisti -

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This page compliments of Marisa Ciceran

Created: Thursday, August 30, 2001; Updated Sunday, January 27, 2013
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