The concept of “Faces in the book” stems from two different goals: to commemorate and pay tribute to a group of men who arrived here from overseas to help us fight at the battle fronts during World War I, but also to show our gratitude for the great honour of having our city’s wealth of documents and exhibits hosted in the photographic exhibition “War & Art – WWI – USA in Italy” at the Pentagon in Washington. As is often the case, “Faces in the book” is the result of the passion of a private collector who accumulated a large number of period documents on the subject and some precious publications of the companies that formed the 332nd Infantry Regiment. This extensive set of documents demonstrates that the US forces were transferred from France to Italy in the spring of 1918, and has provided us with an almost complete list of the soldiers that formed it. Two of the books in this collection proved to be particularly interesting and inspired the implementation of the project: the first is a compendium featuring the photos of all the members of Company K; the second book, instead, provides a list of the nicknames of the various soldiers of Company E.
The composition of the first book, which features a large section dedicated to the photos of each soldier, inspired the name of the exhibition and its layout: the general idea was to replicate the original function of the well-known social network “Facebook”, and reveal the faces of these men from afar. This was achieved through this permanent installation, which was placed next to a prestigious and important site, the Memoriale dei Cavalieri in Vittorio Veneto, and by developing and setting up a website by drawing inspiration from the contents of the exhibition. The website is intended to serve as a bridge between our city and the USA, where we hope to find the descendants of the soldiers listed here and perhaps also to establish new relationships, thus enriching both the website and the installation at our museum with new data, documents and photos.
“Faces in the book” is aimed, above all, at establishing a bond between Vittorio Veneto and all those living in the USA, who will now have an additional tool to keep alive the memory of their ancestors, with the awareness that, after more than a century, their contribution in the Great War is still very much alive in the historical memory of our country and is continuously reflected in the relations between our two nations, based on peace and solidarity.
The USA entered the war on 6 April 1917 as a result of the sinking of the Lusitania ship, which had made America’s enormous production capacity available to the Allied front, thus marking a turning point in the stagnant conflict, which was going heavily in favour of the Central Powers.Keep reading
The 332nd battalion was made up of about 4,000 men led by 125 officers, divided into three battalions formed by four companies each (1st Battalion companies A, B, C and D, 2nd Battalion companies E, F, G and H, 3rd Battalion companies I, K, L and M) and in four other companies (Command, Medical, Maintenance and Machine Gunners), which, depending on each mission, joined one of these three battalions. Each company consisted of approximately 250 men. Based on the registered surnames, 10% of the soldiers could have been descendants of families that had emigrated from Italy.Keep reading
The photos of the Company K were taken from the book "History of Company K: Work of Company K, 332nd United States Infantry in the Great War". The book was printed in 1930 by the publisher H.C. Cook.The photos of the Company K
The names of almost all the components of the 332rd Regiment were collected and examined, through various bibliographic sources. The list consists of around 3,500 names. In addition to the surname and the name appear the address and the city of origin. The list is in order of belonging to the various companies that made up the Regiment.See all the names
"Faces in the Book" is located at the Museo della Battaglia in the church of San Paoletto next to the Memoriale dei Cavalieri di Vittorio Veneto.
The Museum tells how the Great War was made and lived on both fronts, exposing numerous weapons and various objects, along with a very rich documentation.