Austro-Hungarian prisoners in Asinara Island During Autunn 1915 German, Austrian and Bulgarian army invaded Serbia. Earlier attacks by central Power to Serbia falled and the Serbian army took under control of many thousands of war prisoners: at the end of 1914 in Serbia there were more 60.000 German and Austro-Hungarian POW. Serbia could not able to care these prisoners due to the lack of prisoner camps and resources. Lack of food, the exploitation of these men in hard works as well as typhoid, cholera and dysentery, quickly decimated the prisoners. When the central Powers invaded Serbia, people and the Serbian army with its prisoners were forced to move to Montenegro and the neutral Albania. German and Austro-Hungarian POW exhausted by epidemics were dragged in the escape and subjected to grueling marches and privations of all sorts. Many of them died during the retreat due to hunger, cold and disease. Instead, the survivors poured on the Albanian coast after innumerable sufferings. However their ordeal was not yet concluded. When the armies of the Central Powers began to head towards the borders of Albania and Montenegro, the eviction of these prisoners became urgent. Hence they were to be transferred as soon as possible, but Italy and France vied for control on this operation. Italy, which sought to reach a leading role in the Balkans, prevailed and managed the emergency, although it was totally unprepared to ensure the necessary assistance to prisoners. On mid December 1915 the first group of prisoners was delivered to the Asinara Island where a camp specialized in infectious diseases were established since 1885; most of them showed clear symptoms of cholera. According to the original plan the prisoners had to be visited before boarding and later transferred to the Asinara Island, that could accommodate a thousand patients at a time. After the necessary disinfection procedures and a quarantine period, the prisoners restored in health would be sorted out eventually in other fields in Italy, allowing the arrival of a new group of soldiers to the Asinara. However the situation in the Balkans fell quickly, as well as the health situation of prisoners piled on the dock of Vlora. Due to a very high risk of epidemic, the eviction could no longer be postponed. Neglecting all medical procedures, between 16 and 30 December 1915, 21,388 prisoners were transferred by 10 steamers to Asinara, 2,618 other soldiers were transported between January 2 and March 8 1916. Considering that the German Austro-Hungarian POW were 60.000 as total and that only 24.000 of them arrived on the Albanian coasts, it's reasonable suppose that almost 40.000 of them died during the retreat of the Serbian army. More than 24.000 prisoners were placed in a complex which could hold 1.000 prisoners at most. More than 1,500 men, already hit by the epidemic in Vlora, perished during the voyage or on board ships forced to stay long in the harbor, due to the lack of facilities, equipment and medical personnel for landing operations. The small space of the boats, the fatigue of the journey, and especially the poor hygienic conditions provided the ideal conditions for the spread of diseases, especially cholera, so that captains were forced to leave the corpses in the sea. On the island the situation was not so different: 7 to January 14, 1916 perished more than 1,300 prisoners due to cholera. The conditions on the island became quickly dramatic. On the island, water and supplies were missing and the Austro-Hungarian POW who, although ill, were distributed in the camps of tents without heating. These facts lead to the death of 7.000 prisoners in three months.