A conversation with Al Finci Former DP Camp Refugee in Santa Maria al Bagno, Italy
Film Screening: Salento, a Bridge to Israel (directed by Mandy Feingers, Jerusalem 2007).
At the end of WWII, Jewish refugees were temporarily hosted in transit camps in Apulia, which had been established under the aegis of the United Nations and the Allied Forces, with the support of International Jewish organizations, chiefly the Joint Distribution Committee.
DPs included former detainees from Italian concentration camps and survivors of Nazi extermination camps, who – from all over Europe, were sent to DP (Displaced Persons) camps in Bari, Barletta and in other small villages on the Lecce sea coast (the most important ones being Santa Cesarea, Santa Maria al Bagno, Santa Maria di Leuca, Tricase Porto). Those refugees remained in Apulia for shorter or longer periods between 1944 and 1949.
The University of Salento has been collecting and publishing autobiographic material and memoirs of by refugees who lived in the transit camps in Puglia.
In their writings the former displaced persons let us know about the daily life in the camps, as well as about their feelings and hopes to find any possible way to migrate to the United States, Israel or to other destinations.
Personal testimonies and interviews allow to reconstruct a full picture of an important page of contemporary history and integrate the official documents preserved in local and international archives.