Between 1943 and 1945, nearly 800.000 Italian nationals were deported in Germany. 50.000 of them never returned. This is the story of one of those survivors: Nildo Menin, my grandfather.



the documentary


Nildo Menin was only 19 years old when he was taken from his homeland and put on a train, direction unknown.

It was October 7th, 1943. Nildo had just recently joined the Carabinieri force. That morning, he was summoned to the barracks for what turned out to be an ambush. He and his comrades were arrested and put on a train by the SS. They spent 14 days on that train, in extremely harsh conditions, until they reached the prison camp of Moosburg, Germany.

Italian Military Internees, that’s how the Nazis used to call them. Not just prisoners, but slaves, forced into hard labor in an inhumane environment.

During his two years of imprisonment, Nildo never stopped writing his diary. The other prisoners referred to him as “the boy with the book under his arm”. On those pages, Nildo noted down everything, every single bombing, every piece of bread he managed to find. He wrote about his life as a prisoner, the peculiar alternative society that had formed in the camp, his everyday struggle to survive.

Nildo and Simone Menin. Latina, 2021. Photo by Juri Fantigrossi.

Nildo left us on August 1st, 2022, at the age of 98. It's only in the last years of his life that he decided to tell his story.

In “The boy with the book under his arm” we retrace the events of Nildo’s imprisonment with the contribution of historians and experts, in order to shed some light on the still little known history of the Italian Military Internees.


“The boy with the book under his arm” is broadcasted on History, channel 411 on Sky, since August 28th and on several other channels.


  • History Channel
  • Sky On Demand
  • Sky Go
  • NOW Tv


  • Year: 2022
  • Type: Documentary
  • Time: 78m
  • Language: Italian, English, German
  • Produced by: Wow Tapes
  • Distributed by: History Channel


Nildo Menin