This inquiry examines the diaries and memoirs written by Italian World War II Prisoner of War (POW) non-collaborators, held at Camp Hereford, Texas, and collaborators, held at Letterkenny Army Depot, Pennsylvania. The unilateral decision on the part of the US government to offer the approximate fifty-one thousand Italian POWs held in the US a chance to cooperate in the common cause of defeating Nazi Germany significantly shaped the different experiences and memories of those who either refused cooperation or decided to take an oath. While non-cooperators in Hereford were subjected to life behind barbed wire and severely reduced rations after the European war, those held at Letterkenny did not face armed guards and often socialized with Americans, especially Italian Americans. As a genre, these writings share common tropes of describing capture, oceanic transportation to the United States, initial awe of American abundance, and motivations for choosing to cooperate or not. Furthermore, most Italian POW memoirists and diarists also mutually remain silent about sexual desire, express fear for family members in Italy, articulate concepts of patriotism, and voice longing for repatriation. Differences instead denote the specific events that unfolded at each camp, largely shaped by the choice to cooperate or not. Greater efforts to recover and study memory writings from other camps will further enhance the larger tale of Italian World War II detainment, a unique aspect of the twentieth-century Italian diaspora.

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