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PostItalian POWs: Cooperators, Collaborators, and the Unrepentant (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 09/03/14 2:13 am)
Apparently the issue of POWs has interested many WAISers.
Regarding the Italian POWs, after 8 September 1943 they were divided into cooperators, treated very well, and non-cooperators, who especially in the last months were treated harshly. There were also the smart ones, especially officers.
These smart ones, perhaps less honest than the others, did not sign any declaration of cooperation but, rather skilfully, they signed a declaration in which they stated that they will obey any and all orders received by the "legal Italian government," which theoretically was correct.
Which was the "legal Italian Government" is very debatable, but the American authorities assumed that it was the Badoglio/King government (the Italian republic--lay, democratic and antifascist--also of course has this position today), so the officers who signed such statement maintained the privileges of the cooperators but also had a mental reservation.
The Italians are very good in the art of "arrangiarsi" (to manage), but I do not like it in this way.
JE comments: David Pike has reprimanded me for this, but I still find it unfair that officer POWs should get better treatment than common soldiers--a vestige of the chivalric code, or am I reading too much Don Quixote? Why, in modern times, should social class trump national enmity?
The Italian "arrangiarsi" sounds like the Brazilian "dar um jeito." A question for Mendo Henriques: is the expression used in Portugal, too?