By Pierre Kosmidis
Photos submitted by Errico de Luca and used by permission
Mr. Errico de Luca, from Udine in Italy, is a keen expert on WW1 and WW2 battlefields, not only in his home country, but all around the world.
Having visited his first battlefield with his grandfather, Mr. Errico de Luca has been to almost 300 historic battlefields in Europe, Africa and even the USA.
His interest in history and the research done in forgotten battlefields has resulted in the creation of his company, named ISTORI.
Mr. Errico d Luca, explains via www.ww2wrecks.com why it is important to keep the memories alive and why the battlefields of WW1 and WW2 are living history lessons for anyone who wishes to learn about the past.
You have visited many battlefields of the past. Which one is the most impressive for you and why?
I was a child, 5 years old, when I visited my first battlefield in 1973 with my grandfather, who showed me where his friends died during a WW1 battle; since then I never stopped studying and visiting the “historic facts at their heart”, as I say!
I launched ISTORI in 2010, a new company 100% involved in this matter from editing books, studying facts (I have a collection of more than 20,000 original WW1 and WW2 photos), managing events, planning and organizing travels, historical daily excursions to battlefields, conference and historical activities, I can say with a good success and for me great satisfaction. Sure business is business but passion becomes stronger and stronger day by day!
My favourite and more impressive area was the El Alamein desert, the south area of Deir el Munassib and Karet el Himemat, where Folgore and Bersaglieri had a really fierce fight against English, French and Greek soldiers, in particular the desert is really strongly an emotional place.
I was able to find a newspaper buried in the sand sand that was dated November 1942; for me taking a little souvenir from battlefield is a very important mission to give testimony of my travel that I normally donate to a museum or a collection!
There is renewed interest from people to visit the places were the war was fought. Why do you think this is happening and do you have a specific story to tell us?
Young people in their 20s have a growing feeling to develop and study matters that no school explains.
In particular I see every day more and more new groups of boys and girls asking me info on historical battles so they are inspire and do reenacting group to relive historic battles What is moving them? Surely no fanaticism or militarism but mainly love and passion for history!
You have also visited the Albanian Front, where Italians and Greeks fought in 1940-1941. After so many years, what remains to be seen?
I think not too much compared to my area regarding WW1 battlefields; Consider that the front was not so served by trenches, bunkers, strong lines etc so now after about 80 years really not too much can be seen.
There are relics from the violence of the battles, witnesses of these hard days! Walking in these areas we can still see a crater caused by an explosion and there are areas full or relics such as helmets or canteens still around.
The Albanian front may not be so rich in evidence but it’s an emotional place that make the visitor feel like he is where a battle was fought just yesterday!
In the past, Italians and Greeks have been enemies. Now, apart from friends and allies, both countries share a common past. Many Italian and Greek soldiers died on the mountains of Albania and several are still unaccounted for. What do you think about it?
As we know this was a war that only the manipulators of people wanted and from my point of view it was really nonsense but you know history is full of these strange errors…
I know from witness accounts that most Italian soldiers were obliged to do that and that they never demonstrated strong hostility or hate against Greek people and soldiers, and it was similar in Russia.
My opinion is that declaring war against Greece was one of the biggest errors of the Italian regime during WW2, not from a strategic point of view but because I consider Italians and Greeks so close in culture, habits and traditions.
My memory goes to all Italian and Greek soldier who were victims of such a big and insane choice so this is why we started to build several monuments in honour of both fighters all around the world from Albania to Russia, northern Africa and Italy, in order to preserve this important memory!
Why is it important to keep the memories of the past alive?
I think that it’s not possible to forget everything as we did in Italy; Remembering facts and the huge number of victims is an important mission for making sure that similar events will never happen again!
Nobody must forget the soldiers who lost their lives at the battlefields: Every soldier was a man, had a family, and his death caused big suffering.
How can someone contact you to visit any of the battlefields you organise tours to?
We are involved on a regular basis in the most important historic exhibitions in Italy or all around Europe and the USA….I will be in Kentucky to the Show of Shows, the biggest historic event in the world!
Just in april 2017 we start to put all our testimoniance on a youtube channel, “isotritravel” where you may follow our amateur video done on the WW1 and WW2 battlefields.
Contact us even if you just want to get info about your planned travel to a historical battlefield!