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From our Collection Days
Happy Valentine's Day
My Angel last night I received a letter from you. I learned how strong was the pain on the day we had to separate. Do you remember those beautiful kisses? Do you remember the last one we gave each other between the tears. You did not dare to say a word. The tears were suffocating you. While passing by you were at the window. The [train] guard also told me that. I didn't see you. I almost thought you didn't keep the promise made. I didn't dare to watch more than once. My poor heart was suffocated not by tears, but by a strong passion that I couldn't resist. You knew what my beliefs were. Also having to leave you again, what a pain... By the end of the year we hope this will end... Greetings and kisses Giuseppe. Enjoy this souvenir from me. In these rough mountains you can find these flowers.
This moving love letter was sent by Sergeant Major Giuseppe Castellani, to his wife Antonia at home in Fossato di Vico, while he was away serving in the Italian army during the First World War. All her life Antonia cherished this edelweiss card, which was contributed online to Europeana 1914-1918 by their grandson Manuel Castellani. You may also contribute your family's stories from the Great War, and soon we will be running family history roadshows in Italy including Trento 16 March 2013.
Images: "Memory of our glorious Alps" sent 19 September 1917, and reverse
View the full story and the images here.
Words by Alun Edwards and Monica Rossi, University of Oxford
Saved by his Bible - a family history
|The Bible that saved a life|
In the never-ending trench warfare in the north-east of France Kurt Geiler was sleeping as usual with his Bible beneath his head. A direct hit destroyed his dug-out almost completely, dead and wounded were everywhere. Geiler was not injured and could get out of the rubble. Later he found his Bible again and to his astonishment there was a large piece of shell shrapnel wedged inside. Without the Bible, this would have smashed his head. Since that time, this Bible has been an important memento of the family.