Borgo San Dalmazzo concentration camp

The Borgo San Dalmazzo concentration camp (German: Polizeihaftlager Borgo San Dalmazzo) was a Nazi concentration camp in Borgo San Dalmazzo, Piedmont, Italy.

The camp operated under German control from September to November 1943 and, following that, under the control of the Italian Social Republic from December 1943 to February 1944. Approximately 375 Jews, including Italian nationals, 119 refugees from Poland, and refugees from France, the Soviet Union, Germany, Austria, Romania, Hungary, Croatia and Greece, were held at Borgo San Dalmazzo until deported to Auschwitz and other German camps where all but a few were murdered.

Borgo San Dalmazzo
Transit camp
Archivio studio kuadra01
Memorial of the deportation of the Jews in Borgo San Dalmazzo
Borgo San Dalmazzo concentration camp is located in Northern Italy
Borgo San Dalmazzo concentration camp
Location of Borgo San Dalmazzo within Northern Italy
Other namesPolizeihaftlager Borgo San Dalmazzo
LocationBorgo San Dalmazzo, Piedmont, Italy
Operated byNazi Germany (1943)
Italian Social Republic (1943–44)
Original useMilitary barracks
Operational1943–1944
InmatesJewish refugees
Number of inmatesGerman period: 349
Italian period: 26

Camp history

German period

The camp was established on 18 September 1943, ten days after the surrender of Italy to the Allies, in a former Alpini barracks of the Royal Italian Army near the railway station of Borgo. Up to the Italian surrender, Jews of Italian nationality and refugees from other European nations had lived in relative safety in Italy and the parts of Southern France occupied by Italy. After the Italian surrender, German forces already in the country began an occupation and ordered all non-Italian nationals in the area to present themselves to the occupation authorities. With local assistance, a large number of the Jewish refugees managed to hide, but 349 people (201 men and 148 women) either presented to the authorities or were captured and moved to Borgo San Dalmazzo concentration camp. Many were caught by the 1st SS Panzer Division while trying to cross the French border into Italy at Ventimiglia.[1][2][3]

Conditions in the camp were far less severe than in other, similar camps, and medical assistance was available to the inmates at the hospitals of Borgo and, for more severe cases, Cuneo. Despite a number of successful escapes from the camp, conditions did not worsen much for the inmates. On 9 November 1943, most of the Jews of Italian nationality were released for reasons unknown. On 21 November, the 328 non-Italian Jews remaining in the camp were, on orders from the Gestapo office in Nice, taken to the nearby train station, put in freight cars, and taken to either Fossoli di Carpi or Drancy, France. These included the 41 inmates that were, at the time, recovering in the hospital of Borgo. Inmates who were at Cuneo hospital were protected and hidden by the hospital staff and were not removed.[1][2][3]

Many of those saved from deportation were helped by a local Catholic priest, Don Raimondo Viale, who provided food, shelter and, eventually, an opportunity to escape to Switzerland. His efforts were honored when he was named as one of the Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in August 2000.[2][4]

In three stages, on 7 December, 17 December and 27 January, the prisoners at Fossoli di Carpi and Drancy were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp. It is estimated that no more than twelve of the people formerly kept at the camp survived to see liberation at the end of the war. Following the deportations of 21 November, the camp was shut down for a short period.[1][2][3]

Italian period

The former German camp was taken over by the Cuneo Police Department a few days after its closure. Under German orders, the local authorities continued to arrest Jewish refugees in the area. A total of 26 people were arrested and held at the camp, mostly women. On 13 January 1944, these prisoners were sent to Fossoli di Carpi and were deported from there on 22 February 1944, mostly to Auschwitz. Following this final deportation, the Borgo San Dalmazzo concentration camp was permanently closed, although Jews continued to be arrested and executed in the area up to the end of the war. Jews captured after the closure were usually held in prison in Turin until deported via Fossoli di Carpi. Six Jews captured in March and April 1945 were executed near Cuneo by soldiers of the Fascist Italian Black Brigades on 25 April 1945, shortly before the town was liberated by partisans.[1][2][3]

Victims

Of the approximately 375 inmates at Borgo, only a small number survived the Holocaust. Most were deported to Auschwitz where they were exterminated. A few were also sent to Buchenwald were they were also killed. The victims were refugees from Poland (119 persons), France, Soviet Union, Germany, Austria, Romania, Hungary, Croatia and Greece. The Italian nationals held at Borgo were mostly released, although 23 Italians were also deported.[1][2][3]

The names, ages and nationality of the victims are well documented. There were slightly more male (209) than female (166) inmates. The victims included both the very young and the very old. There were 78 inmates under the age of 21 (with the youngest being less than a year old). There were 76 inmates over the age of 70.[1][2][3]

It is estimated that only between 12 and 18 of the inmates survived the Holocaust, less than five percent.[1][2][3]

Aftermath

No trace now remains of the former Borgo San Dalmazzo concentration camp, but two epitaphs were erected to mark the events that took place in Borgo San Dalmazzo. In 2006 a memorial was erected at the Borgo San Dalmazzo railway station to honor the victims of the deportations. The memorial contains the name, age and country of origin of each of the victims as well as those of the few survivors. Freight cars similar to those used in the deportation are preserved nearby.[1][2][3]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Borgo San Dalmazzo". ANED – National Association of Italian political deportees from Nazi concentration camps. Archived from the original on 28 August 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Borgo San Dalmazzo" (in German). Gedenkorte Europa 1939–1945. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Der Ort des Terrors: Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager Bd. 9: Arbeitserziehungslager, Durchgangslager, Ghettos, Polizeihaftlager, Sonderlager, Zigeunerlager, Zwangsarbeitslager (in German). Wolfgang Benz, Barbara Distel. 2009. ISBN 9783406572388. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  4. ^ Raimondo Viale – his activity to save Jews' lives during the Holocaust, at Yad Vashem website

Coordinates: 44°19′36″N 07°29′12″E / 44.32667°N 7.48667°E

Borgo San Dalmazzo

Borgo San Dalmazzo (Occitan: Lo Borg Sant Dalmatz) is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Cuneo in the Italian region Piedmont, located about 80 kilometres (50 mi) south of Turin and about 8 kilometres (5 mi) southwest of Cuneo.

Borgo San Dalmazzo takes its name from Saint Dalmatius of Pavia. Sights include the parish church of San Dalmazzo (11th century).

Borgo San Dalmazzo borders the following municipalities: Boves, Cuneo, Gaiola, Moiola, Roccasparvera, Roccavione, Valdieri, and Vignolo.

The Nazi and Italian Social Republic regimes established and operated the Borgo San Dalmazzo concentration camp during the Second World War. At Borgo, approximately 375 Jewish Italians (from Cuneo, Saluzzo, Mondovì and other nearby communes) and 349 Jewish refugees from other countries were imprisoned and eventually deported to Auschwitz and other Nazi extermination camps.

Cuneo

Cuneo (Italian: [ˈkuːneo] (listen); Piedmontese: Coni [ˈkʊni]; French: Coni [kɔni]) is a city and comune in Piedmont, Northern Italy, the capital of the province of Cuneo, the third largest of Italy’s provinces by area.

It is located at 550 metres (1,804 ft) in the south-west of Piedmont, at the confluence of the rivers Stura and Gesso.

Cuneo is bounded by the municipalities of Beinette, Borgo San Dalmazzo, Boves, Busca, Caraglio, Castelletto Stura, Centallo, Cervasca, Morozzo, Peveragno, Tarantasca and Vignolo.It is located near six mountain passes:

Colle della Maddalena at 1,996 metres (6,549 ft)

Colle di Tenda at 1,871 metres (6,138 ft) - Tunnel of Tenda at 1,300 metres (4,300 ft), 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) long

Colle del Melogno at 1,027 metres (3,369 ft)

Colle San Bernardo at 957 metres (3,140 ft)

Colle di Nava at 934 metres (3,064 ft)

Colle di Cadibona at 459 metres (1,506 ft).

Drancy internment camp

The Drancy internment camp was an assembly and detention camp for confining Jews who were later deported to the extermination camps during the German military administration of Occupied France during World War II. It was located in Drancy, a northeastern suburb of Paris, France. Between 22 June 1942, and 31 July 1944, during its use as an internment camp, 67,400 French, Polish, and German Jews were deported from the camp in 64 rail transports, which included 6,000 children. Only 1,542 remained alive at the camp when Allied forces liberated it on 17 August 1944.Drancy was under the control of the French police until 1943 when administration was taken over by the SS, who placed officer Alois Brunner in charge of the camp. In 2001, Brunner's case was brought before a French court by Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld, which sentenced Brunner in absentia to a life sentence for crimes against humanity.

Raimondo Viale

Don Raimondo Viale (1907 – 25 September 1984) was an Italian Catholic priest, whose name is entered among the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem for his work on behalf of the Jews during the Holocaust.

The Holocaust in Italy

The Holocaust in Italy was the persecution, deportation, and murder of Jews between 1943 and 1945 in the Italian Social Republic, the part of the Kingdom of Italy occupied by Nazi Germany after the Italian surrender on September 8, 1943, during World War II.

The oppression of Italian Jews began in 1938 with the enactment of Racial Laws of segregation by the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini. Before the Italian surrender in 1943, however, Italy and the Italian occupation zones in Greece, France and Yugoslavia had been places of relative safety for local Jews and European Jewish refugees. This changed in September 1943, when German forces occupied the country, installed the puppet state of the Italian Social Republic and immediately began persecuting and deporting the Jews found there. Italy had a pre-war Jewish population of 40,000 but, through evacuation and refugees, this number increased during the war. Of the estimated 50,000 Jews living in Italy before September 1943, some 8,000 died during the Holocaust (mostly at Auschwitz), while 40,000 survived. In this, the Italian police and Fascist militia played an integral role as the Germans' accessories.

While most Italian concentration camps were police and transit camps, one camp, the Risiera di San Sabba in Trieste, was also an extermination camp. It is estimated that up to 5,000 mostly political prisoners were murdered there.

The Holocaust in Italy has received comparatively little attention. For example, until the 1990s, no publication dealt with the history of the Italian concentration camps.

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