I share here a document that has some historical significance: the “illustrated diary” of about 600,000 Italian soldiers captured by the Germans (military internment, as hypocritically the Germans called it), by A. Berretti with foreword by Guareschi. The title means: “Beware of the wire!”.
Text is in Italian, French, English, and some sketches of war prisoners belong to different nationalities.
Nearly two years of prison camps were awaiting Italians from all Armies, in harsh conditions, with lack of food, clothes, hygiene and parcels of the Red Cross (which were a right for war prisoners but not for the IMI, Italienische Militär-Internierte, as Hitler pretended they were called).
Their return was forgotten; they were soldiers, but had made war on the wrong side and there was the myth, largely political, that the liberation was accomplished by the partisans (many of them being militaries escaped from the Germans, too): they constituted anyway the generation who rebuilt Italy.
My father, lieutenant of corps of engineers, on the night between 7 and 8 September was in service with six men at Bolzano’s city hall (total armament: a hand gun and six rifles). During the night, he lost telephone contact with his command (already captured by the Germans). At 6 AM a German squad, following a tank and several machine guns, demanded their surrender. My father, after verifying the impossibility of any resistance, and after consulting his men accepted. He was taken on a train (passengers, as required by international conventions, from Bolzano to Innsbruck: from there on, stockers). A long odyssey between Germany, Poland and Russia started: at the end, he was freed by Canadian troops, who, given the conditions of the camp prisoners, cleared out a nearby village and transferred them there in order to begin a recovery towards life. Two years after being returned to Italy, people still gave him their seats on the tram, for his exceptional thinness.
Hope the attached text allows us to understand, first-person, what war actually is.