Here I wish to create a gallery of photographs and memorabilia of the Zonderwater
era. I invite you to contribute anything of interest related to this time, so that we may
share and above all, remember. Kindly note that these contributions have been kindly
submitted by families who need to be respected, therefore copyright laws would apply.
This beautiful watercolour, part of my personal collection was
painted by Adelio Zeelie, during his time as a POW at Zonderwater.
Not much is known of this artist who chose to remain in South Africa
after the war, settling in the Cape. His paintings have become very
valuable and collectable over time.
Livio Morganti POW
Pictures courtesy of the Morganti family
"This is where I spent the best years of
my youth & deprived of freedom."
Francesco Gianquinto (second left)
Francesco was with the 116 Infantry
(Marmarica), stationed in Tobruk. Captured
early in the war Francesco was shipped with
many others to South Africa and spent time in the
POW camp in Pietermaritzburg. His daily duties
were varied; admin work being one, assigning
fellow prisoners to certain duties. This in turn
brought him rewards such as extra bread and
much sought after cigarettes.
Later Francesco was transferred to St Elmo's
schools, for the mentally handicapped, on the
South Coast of Natal, doing maintenance work.
Today Franco lives with his family in the USA
and I am grateful to his son Tony for sending me
such historical material.
The Cover of the Booklet printed and titled 'In Attesa'
POW Camp 4 Pietermaritzburg
The Camp's Band
One of the many and regular games of soccer
Verdinelli in Action
Roberto Verdinellei, from Rome had made a name for himself in the
region of Lazio. With 103 fights under his belt, most of which were
victorious, his career was interrupted when called up. As a POW,
Roberto resumed his love for boxing and started a gym, training
and organizing bouts.
Mountain Rise Cemetery, Pietermaritzburg- Italian section.
Pvt. Marino Giovanni; Colle Sannita
Pvt. Lotti Ennio; Udine
Pvt. Petrocca Giuseppe; Pettilia Policastro
Artilleryman; Montanaro Antonio di Francesco; Napoli
Driver; Scalise Domenico di Giuseppe; Gimigliano
Artillery Sgt. Major Pomin Luigi di Angelo; Masi
Sgt. Vescovi Cleto di Gregorio; Longhirano
Pvt. Cognetti Felice di Domenico; Corato, Prov. di Bari
The Church at Pietermaritzburg, constructed by the
Italian POW's of Camp 4
The Apostolic Delegate Speaks to the POW's at the
Inauguration of the Church.
Francesco is seen in this picture by the pointed marker.
On the 18th March, the Natal Witness and the Natal
Daily carried this pictures showing tradesmen busy
with the final touches to the church, prior to the
inauguration. The following day, The Natal Mercury
carried the photograph of Monsignor Gijlswijk,
Apostolic Delegate to South Africa speaking to the
"'This church was constructed voluntarily by the
prisoners of war of Italy in Pietermaritzburg, with
material recovered from a quarry close by…..
'This construction has been well finished and is
gracious; also perfect in architectural design….which
is in keeping with this inauguration ceremony."
Sgt. Pastacaldi took it upon himself to
develop the athletic arena and names such
as Prati, Borelli, Gallo, Paglioni, Cereda,
Meroli, R Marino, Agostinelli, Ferrigno,
Nelli, Verdinelli, Castellan, Sciarretta
Castaglioni and other excelled in this field.
High Jump, Prati seen in action.
Sergeant Raoul Ghelarducci takes credit
for launching the sport of tennis in camp
4, Pietermaritzburg. A keen tennis player
himself, he organized many a tournament.
One most memorable which took place
during the period of Easter, 44. A total of
28 participants entered with Serale
coming out the victor and presented with
a silver trophy donated by Major
Fiasconaro, Mascazzini, Ali Pedrelli and Persichini in
a scene of 'Una piu Due' (One plus Two)
The Infirmary at Camp 4
The Post Office
This lidded container fashioned from a 2 shells by an Italian POW. The lid has inset in
the centre fitted with an old Abyssinian coin of 1930's vintage with a diameter of
40mm. The base also has a coin inset at the bottom, this being a fascist Italian Vittorio
Emanuelle coin with a 23mm diameter. This piece forms a part of my personal
POW at Zonderwater, transferred
to work on a farm somewhere in
South Africa in 1945. Daniela
kindly sent me these pictures of
her father. Together with Alfio
are a few of his co-prisoners as
well as the owners and family of
the farm. Perhaps someone will
be able to shed more light on
these historic pictures
Alfio at Zonderwater
A portrait of
signed and dated
20/01/1943. Done on
a simple piece of
paper by one of the
one, like Alfio, from
Prigioniero di guerra a
Zonderwater, trasferito a
lavorare in una fattoria da
qualche parte in Sud Africa nel
1945. Daniela mi ha gentilmente
inviato queste foto di suo padre.
Insieme con Alfio sono alcuni dei
suoi co-detenuti, nonché i
proprietari e la famiglia della
fattoria. Forse qualcuno sarà in
grado di gettare più luce su
queste immagini storiche
Un ritratto della madre di
Daniela, firmata e datata
20/01/1943. Fatto su un
semplice pezzo di carta da uno
dei tanti artisti di talento di
Zonderwater, questo, come
Alfio, da Block 5.