Stories of Survival

Author: Yolanda Ropschitz Bentham
Language: English

The People of Ferramonti: Then and Now

In Calabria, June 1940, Jewish exiles from Europe, escaping the Nazis, begin to arrive at Ferramonti di Tarsia Campo di Concentramento, a site chosen by the Fascist Italian government for its remoteness and inhospitable terrain. The aim: to intern ‘enemy aliens’ resident in Italy as the country enters WWII.

Over the next three years, Ferramonti will see its population swell to over 3,000 internees, mostly, but not all, Jews from central and eastern Europe. Large contingents arriving via Benghazi and the Danube paddle-steamer Pentcho, will settle in Ferramonti, making it their haven as the war rages and the Nazis commit their atrocities, decimating families left behind.

Little did those internees know that Ferramonti would become their salvation; the barbed wire surrounding the camp would form a protective ring around them. They lost their freedom but ultimately escaped with their lives, thanks to the humane treatment afforded by their Italian captors.

But Ferramonti had a shifting population; some arrived and remained till liberation in September 1943, some departed to other fates, sometimes worse. In this book, you can read the stories of some of those survivors: their lives before, during and after captivity in Italy’s largest internment camp, Ferramonti di Tarsia.

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