NIAF Announces New Book, A Camp Without Walls


Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

(Washington, DC – August 8, 2003) A Camp Without Walls describes the journey of an Italian survivor of a Nazi labor camp and his family=s plight from World War II to the present as seen through the eyes of his daughter and author Dr. Maria Lombardo, presently NIAF Education Scholar and previously NIAF Education Director for 20 years. Italy/Italy Magazine published the coffee table book in Rome. Mentioned in the book are 29 conferences held nationally on Italy=s role during World War II and the Holocaust sponsored by NIAF, the National Endowment for the Humanities, 18 federal agencies and Italian and Jewish organizations.

Professor Herman Taube, accredited correspondent of the White House Press Corps comments, ADr. Maria Lombardo=s clear and concise account about Salvatore Lombardo, her father=s and the rest of her family=s struggle to survive during WWII, is a remarkable story of a former Italian soldier. It retells his imprisonment by the Nazis, together with 254 other Italians, in a labor camp in Yugoslavia in subhuman conditions. Her book is intimate and enormously interesting, essential reading for scholars, teachers and students who want to learn about international resistance and the German treatment of POWs and ordinary civilians during war years.

The book includes illustrations, chronology of events spanning from 1918 up to 1947, the history of Italian immigration to America, and the Italian language for the last two hundred years. It presents us with a creative blend of social history and family connections, past and present. A Camp Without Walls is written with clarity, vigor, and thoroughness. It is an example of a daughter=s love for her father. Maria deserves our gratitude for writing this book, which is a great contribution to the literature and history of WWI.

Barbara Walsh, editor of Italy/Italy Magazine, comments “The author explains that she chose the title A Camp Without Walls not only because of her father’s experiences in the labor camp, where fear of fierce dogs built walls as effective as any concrete barriers. Her own intensive experience meeting and talking to Italian and Jewish survivors of World War II as part of a series of conferences on the Holocaust in Southern Europe confirmed her observation that even though the survivors of concentration camps had been freed, they still lived within walls that endured in their own minds. “I knew my obligation. I had to serve as a conduit for telling the story for a Jewish friend, for my father and for other survivors who so willingly entrusted me with their life stories. I knew that there were moral lessons in those stories that young people could learn.”

This coffee table book includes the personal history, historical account, an annotated bibliography and color photographs.

Part of the proceeds from this book will be used to establish the Salvatore Lombardo Scholarship at the National Italian American Foundation. .

This book, which costs $24.95 plus $5.00 shipping and handling, may be purchased by contacting: Dr. Maria Lombardo at P.O. Box 23758, Washington, D.C. 20026-3758, fax (301) 530-2149, or e-mail to