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My last on-site research trip was in October/November 2023 and included these adventures:

Fall Trip 2023
On 24 October, I flew from SLC to CDG, arriving the next morning and where I spent the night.

The next day, I caught the flight to Catania and picked up the rental car. Booking early, I was able to get a room in one of my favority places, Agriturismo Duca di San Martino in Partanna.

On 27 October, I met with the priest at the Cathedral in Mazara del Vallo to schedule work in the archives the following day.

The next day, I was able to work in the Cathedral Archives and found some extended family back to 1698.

On 29 October, I drove, plus the ferry across the Strait of Messina, to Serrastretta to meet with Rabbi Barbara. We had a wonderful visit the next day when I was able to meet with her co-chair of the group sponsoring Ukranian refugees into the town. We also made plans for Passover Seder in the Spring.

The next day I toured the town of San Fili and attended evening Mass. The priest was not available, and the temporary priest had no authority, so I talked to the lay leader and the females responsible for the altar. They said the records I sought were at the home of the priest and while he wasn't conducting Mass, he would probably answer my letter of request. If he doesn't respond, I will probably stop by that town again in the Spring.

On 1 November, I drove up to Alberobello and located Casa Rossa, an internment location for Jews during World War II. I enjoyed my tour of the farm at Masseria Parco delle Casette and the terrific views of the Adriatic Sea and surrounding countryside from the rooftop.

On 2 November, I arrived early at the Polish Military Cemetery at Cassamassima, knowing there is usually a crowd and not enough chairs. That was the case again this year, but I gave up my chair to stand in the shade of a tree on this unusually warm day. I was able to meet with Zaneta Nawrot, one of the organizers from last year's event and co-author of La Puglia dei Pollacchi. Then I drove over to the the Bari War Cemetery (CWGC) to get photos of more headstones. I discovered that this is the day that the Italian Military honors the foreign cemeteries with color guards from all of their services. I was able to get photos of the changing of the guard from one service to another during my time there.

I drove up to Pompei on 3 November, stopping at the Salerno War Cemetery (CWGC) along the way for more photos.

The next day, I stopped at the Sacrario Militare Italiano di Montelungo at Mignano Monte Lungo and the WWII museum across the street. I gained a greater understanding of the composition of those Italian troops. Some were regular Bersagliere units while the rest seem to be Italian soldiers from all over Italy who wanted to be part of the Liberation of Italy after the fall of Mussolini. They served at this location along with American troops under Gen. Mark Clark against the Germans, finally pushing them north to the Battle for Cassino. That Battle lasted four months (January into May 1944), and included these Italian and American troops as well as Commowealth (including Great Britain, Canada, India, New Zealand, and South Africa), Polish, Free French, and more Americans who had arrived through Anzio and Salerno. I've been able to document the cemeteries for the Battle of Cassino for the Free French, Polish, American, Commonwealth, and Germans. That afternoon I took more photos at the Salerno War Cemetery (CWGC) on my way to Anzio.

On 5 November, I visited the Anzio War Cemetery (CWGC), BeachHead War Cemetery (CWGC) and the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery, all containing casualties from the Battle for Anzio.

The next day, I visited the German War Cemetery at Pomezia. The population is 27,500, an astounding number, sometimes six to a headstone (three on each side). Working in those cemeteries in emotionally draining, so I was glad for another night in the countryside. I checked into Flaminio Village Bungalow Park on the edge of Rome with great relief. It's built for RVs, but also has bungalows on the edge of a forested area. Very peaceful, especially in the Fall when the pool is closed and there is a smaller population.

On 7 November, I took the train in to Vatican City where I renewed my pass to the Archives and discovered that, unlike previous years, every seat in the reading room was full, so I had to wait until my reservation on the 9th.

I took the train into Rome the next day, heading for Piazza del Popolo for a small memorial moment for Chris as she requested. I wandered to the Spanish Steps, then on to Piazza Barberini before seeking the quiet of my park at the edge of the city.

On 9 November, I was able to work with the Prisoner of War records at the Vatican Apostolic Archives, reading mostly about Soviet camps (very depressing). I am convinced that those men (Italians) were only freed in 1947 because the Vatican was able to visit those locations in 1946 and reported on the horrendus conditions. The German camps received no such courtesy from the USSR.

The next day was another reserved day at the AAV. I was able to locate a reference to the man I was seeking in the Soviet Camps, although he apparently died before the Vatican lists made in 1946. His mother had written to the Pope, saying she hadn't heard from him since 1942. His son knew he had died in a Soviet camp and I was doing the work for the grandson of this soldier, hoping to locate the specific camp where he died.

I flew from Rome to Paris on 11 November, checking into an airport hotel near CDG and walking through the charming town of Roissy.

On 12 November, I flew from Paris to SLC, glad to be home from such an emotional trip, but looking forward to returning in April.

For more about travel and research in Italy and other topics, please see my newsletter.

My next research trip to Italy is scheduled for 9-30 April 2024.

My book on CD titled
Sicily, Part 1 and Part 2 and is now available on 2 CDs. With a file for each town (plus many other files), it relates the history of Sicily as reflected in the photos, records and festivals of its towns. It contains over 2500 text and photo files and can be ordered at CD order.

My latest book is titled
American Prisoner of War Camps Colorado and is available at Amazon in paperback format.


© Kathy Kirkpatrick 1997-2023