DP camps located near the Adriatic sea port of Bari were an important stage in illegal emigration to Palestine. ORT conducted extended activities in a number of camps in the area- including the Bari Transit Camp, Barletta, Palese and Andria.
Bari Transit Camp in Southern Italy opened in 1946. It was a large DP centre with up to 1,500 inhabitants. The camp was known for its bad living conditions with definite shortages of food and living space. Resulting from a lack of appropriate premises, the first ORT classes established in Bari in January 1948 were held in wooden sheds and buildings. In 1948 they were attended by over 100 students. Courses included cutting out of men’s and women’s clothes, shirt making, leather work and locksmiths training.
A very important ORT school was established in 1947 in a large DP camp located by the city of Barletta. In 1948 eight training courses with 276 students were in operation in the camp. The trades taught included cutting, shirt making, mechanical knitting, auto-mechanics, cutting of shoe-uppers and leather goods. There was also a school for mechanical agriculture which by mid-1948 trained 187 agricultural mechanics. In children's workshop a group for thirty-seven children from the local Jewish school was preparing for agriculture education by learning basic gardening, poultry rearing and rabbit breeding. From 1949 Barletta remained the last camp for Jewish DPs and the centre of ORTs work with displaced persons.
An important part of ORT activities in southern Italy was played by agricultural training. In the large DP centre of Palese, near Bari, ORT ran courses in agriculture, preparing young kibbtuzniks for immigration to Palestine. Similar training was conducted for thirty-six young people in the building of the local government in Andria.