The “Italian Camp” in the Harz Mountains

The Trautenstein subcamp in the Harz Mountains was liberated by American soldiers on 16 or 17 April 1945. The German guards had already left the camp a few days earlier, but the inmates remained – and for good reason. In many cases, members of the German population participated in chasing down escapees.

Some 30 Italian prisoners of war had been in custody in the small camp. One of them was the 23-year-old bricklayer Antonio Muscaritolo. The Wehrmacht had brought him to Germany in September 1943. After a period of detention in a prisoner-of-war camp, he was sent to Dora, at the time a Buchenwald subcamp.

The SS transferred Muscaritolo to the newly established Trautenstein subcamp in September 1944. When he took ill at the end of March 1945, he was taken back to Dora and committed to the inmate infirmary there. During the clearance of Dora in early April, he fled and made his way back to his fellow Italian inmates in Trautenstein, where he was finally liberated.

(Karsten Uhl)