People of the Meuse-Argonne: Ed Klekowski

Even today French locals, other Europeans and Americans find themselves drawn to the Meuse-Argonne region of France.  Once drawn there, many return time and again; often working on a multi-year research or preservation project.  In this irregular interview series, the webmaster hopes to introduce readers to some of these individuals and their labors of love.

 

1) What are your name, nationality and occupation? 

Ed Klekowski, USA, retired professor, author

 

2) Which languages do you speak, and how fluently do you speak them? 

German–poorly

 

3) When was your first visit to the Meuse-Argonne?

2003, filming for a couple of WWI documentaries I produced (with my wife Libby and Betty Wilda) for public television—WGBY Springfield, Ma

 

4) When did you really find yourself drawn to the Meuse-Argonne?

Hard to say, interest just grew.

 

5) What is  your primary interest in the region?

Research for WWI projects: books and PBS documentaries

 

6) Approximately how many times and/or how often do you visit the Meuse-Argonne?

My family has a house near Dun sur Meuse, so my wife and I visit to area at least twice a year: summer and Christmas

 

7) What do you do when you visit?

Explore out-of-the way WWI sites in the woodlands of the St Mihiel Salient and Meuse-Argonne

 

8) What research or preservation projects are you working on currently?

A couple of books are in the works.

 

9) What research or preservation projects have you completed in the past?

Books: Eyewitnesses to the Great War (Ed and Libby Klekowski, 2012, McFarland) and Americans in Occupied Belgium, 1914-1918 (Ed and Libby Klekowski, 2014, McFarland)

Produced two WW1 PBS documentaries, one about the American Field Service and the other the story of the Yankee Division (26th)

 

10) What is your favorite spot in the Meuse-Argonne, and why?

A museum and restaurant in Romagne near the American cemetery: Romagne ’14-’18 owned by Jean-Paul de Vries, a great place for sandwiches and conversation relating to the war and artifacts found in the nearby woods.

 

11) History aside, what is your favorite thing to do in the Meuse-Argonne?

Besides visiting family, I enjoy running along the trails in the woodlands—you never know what you’ll discover.

 

12) Schedule permitting, would you consider being a tour guide for individuals or groups traveling to the sector? 

Generally speaking, no—more likely for individuals.

 

13)  How can readers contact you for assistance or for more details?

Email <edk@bio.umass.edu>

 

14) Any other comments?

No