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Australia, Ambassador Crudele remembered Italian prisoners in Cowra

Australia, Ambasciatore Crudele ricorda prigionieri italiani a Cowra
Australia, Ambasciatore Crudele ricorda prigionieri italiani a Cowra

The Ambassador of Italy to Australia, Paolo Crudele, officially opened the 2024 Festival of International Understanding in Cowra, a town in New South Wales where – from 1941 until the end of the Second World War – thousands of Italian prisoners of war were interned.

Accompanied by the Military Attaché, Col. Marco Bertoli, and by representatives of the Consulate General of Sydney and of the Canberra and Sydney COMITES, Ambassador Crudele took part in the ceremony at the monument commemorating the Italian prisoners – unveiled in 1997 on the site where the internment camp buildings were located – which was also attended by relatives of the Italian soldiers who had been detained in the facility.

In his opening speech, Ambassador Crudele said: ‘The Cowra Festival is dedicated to the importance of openness to others and friendship between peoples, of which the experience of the Italian soldiers’ internment camp is a paradigmatic example. On several occasions our Australian friends and representatives of the local institutions have recalled the excellent relationship that the Italian prisoners managed to develop with the local population thanks to the contribution they were able to provide by engaging in agricultural work and crafts and to the beautiful artistic works they created during their time in captivity.” In fact, the Cowra Art Gallery preserves numerous works of art by Italian soldiers: goldsmiths’ artefacts, sculptures and two impressive paintings of the Virgin and St. Joseph that were housed in the small Catholic church built inside the camp.

Italy was the guest of honour at the 2024 Festival after having already been so 55 years ago, in 1969. This year, together with the local authorities, a cypress tree was planted next to the poplar tree planted at the end of the 1960s, as an imperishable reminder of the event and of the friendship between Cowra and Italy. During the Festival there were numerous cultural initiatives sponsored by the Embassy, which also presented Italy’s main tourist attractions in its own stand.

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