Updated 11/1/04

Family Chronology

Albanian Prison Camp--Summer/Fall 1941

Albania was a godforsaken country.  The group was taken to a prison camp in Kavaja, on the west coast of Albania, where they remained for three months.  The Montenegran prisoners of war were placed in an adjacent camp and were treated worse than the Serbs because they had fought back against the Italians.  No one was killed in the camp.

Barbed wire surrounded the camp.  The prisoners from Split were kept in one large room and could shower but once a week.  The beds were triple deck bunk beds with open wooden slats.  One night, Alex and Vera found a hole in the wall, behind which they discovered blanket storage; even though the blankets were flea-ridden, they distributed them to the other prisoners, which made things a bit better for sleeping.   The mice were everpresent and Vera would wake up knowing that they had been crawling around during the night.  She vowed to stay awake all night because she didn’t want the mice running over her, but after three nights it didn’t matter what ran over her!  Vera has subsequently had a lifelong aversion to and hatred of mice.

The food was atrocious, with the Italians cooking what was left of the rations they didn’t steal (about half), so Adolf spoke to the Italian camp commander and convinced them to give the rations directly to the prisoners so they could cook meals themselves.  He was also able to secure additional rations from the Albanians.

All writing for presentation had to be approved by the camp commanders.  To try and lighten the oppressive mood, Adolf wrote a script in Yugoslavian that made fun of everyone in camp (both the Italians and prisoners).  In order for it to be approved, he split the script and when two people read it separately, it was totally innocent; yet, read together it poked fun at the Germans and Italians.  When it was presented, no one knew that he wrote it, not even his family.

[Return to Family Chronology Page]
[Return to History Page]