Prisoners of Jan Smuts

R330.00

The first Italian POWs arrived in the Union of South Africa in early 1941, most of them being held in Zonderwater Camp outside Cullinan or in work camps across the country. The government of Jan Smuts saw them as a source of cheap labour that would contribute to harvesting schemes, road-building projects such as the old Du Toit’s Kloof Pass between Paarl and Worcester and even to prickly-pear eradication schemes.

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SKU: 9781776192847 Category:

Prisoners of Jan Smuts

Prisoners of Jan Smuts recounts the stories of survival and shenanigans of the Italian POWs in the Union through the eyes of five prisoners who had documented their experiences in memoirs and letters. While many POWs seemed to appreciate the opportunities to gain new skills, others clung to the Fascist ideas they had grown up with and refused to work.

Many opted to remain in South Africa once the war had ended, forging quite a legacy. These included sculptor Edoardo Villa, who left an important mark in the local and international art world, and businessman Aurelio Gatti, who built an ice-cream empire whose gelato was to delight generations of South Africans.

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