PG 87 - Cardoncelli

Sheet by: Isabella Insolvibile

General data

Town: Benevento

Province: Benevento

Region: Campania

Location/Address: Contrada Cardoncelli - Benevento

Type of camp: Prisoner of War camp

Number: 87

Italian military mail service number: 3400

Intended to: NCOs – Troops

Local jurisdiction: Difesa Territoriale Napoli

Railroad station: Benevento

Accommodation: tents

Capacity: 4000

Operating: from 07/1942 to 11/1942

Commanding Officer: Col. Amleto Garattini

Brief chronology:
Summer 1942: the camp was prepared
November 1942: the camp was closed

Allied prisoners in the Benevento camp

Date Officers NCOs Troops TOT
1.9.1942 2 169 1703 1874
30.9.1942 3 320 3675 3998
31.10.1942 3 172 1833 2008

Camp’s overview

The camp was a tent encampment surrounded by barbed wire, intended for NCOs and privates, and the precarity of the accommodation was self-evident. PoW living conditions were particularly harsh because every storm caused the sewers to overflow and flood the tents. Drinking water was scarce, and therefore hygienic conditions were poor. Likewise, the prisoners did not receive much to eat. Moreover, punishments inflicted by the guards were severe and often in breach of the Geneva conventions. According to a witness, as a punishment for stealing some bread, a prisoner was tied for hours, bare-chested, in a small space between the barbed wire so that even the slightest movement caused him to wound himself.
The camp was also riddled with parasites, and the PoWs were often sick; especially common were malnutrition and dysentery. Moreover, the camp was built in an area where malaria was endemic, and some prisoners claimed, after the war, to have been infected.
According to British sources, the camp was closed in November 1942 after an inspection. A prisoner detained there during August described it as «generally speaking, accommodation was disgusting. Very little food. Bad sanitation. Poor health services. Few clothes. No cigarettes were issued […] The camp was eventually closed owing to its bad state». [TNA, WO 344/12/1]
According to Italian sources, instead, the camp was closed simply «because the prisoners […] had been transferred to other camps». [ACS, MI, DGPS, A5G, II GM, b. 117, f. 59]
After the war, an investigation was launched on the camp’s conditions, but nothing is likely to have come of it. The camp was dismantled, and today no traces of it are left.

Archival sources