This essay examines a substantially neglected issue in the history and memory of the Italian participation in the Spanish Civil War: the imprisonment of the Italian soldiers of the Corps volunteer troops. Sent by Mussolini in support of General Franco, they surrendered to the Italian anti-fascist of Garibaldi Battalion during the Battle of Guadalajara, in March 1937. The article reconstructs the various stages of this prison experience: from capture on battle-field where the wide-spread demoralisation of the fascist troops was exacerbated by anti-fascist propaganda, to their repatriation to Italy. In particular, the essay focuses on the attempts of the anti-fascists to free the prisoners of their fascist ideology through political re-education. Although this initiative was present in different ways in all forms of imprisonment during the Second World War, it was in the context of the Spanish Civil War that the first, unpublished, efforts were made to achieve it.
Keywords: Italian fascism, Italian anti-fascism, prisoners, corps volunteer troops, the Battle of Guadalajara, Spanish Civil War.