NEW SHOW TELLS OF THE HEROIC RESCUE OF
ITALIAN JEWS DURING THE SECOND
A dramatic new exhibition at The Jewish Museum of New Jersey tells the story
of a handful of Catholic clergy, private citizens - and even a German officer - who orchestrated the dramatic rescue of several
hundred Jewish refugees in Assisi, Italy, during the German occupation of that city. Memoria: Assisi and the Jews,
1943 - 1944, opens with a reception on Sunday, October 14th, 12 - 5pm.
exhibition tells the story of the Assisi underground from the perspective of Don Aldo Brunacci, a diocesan
priest and later canon of the Cathedral of San Rufino in Assisi, who was one of the original architects of the plan.
After Germany took over central and northern Italy in 1943, Italian Jews from the region descended on Assisi, the
city of St. Francis, for help. Giuseppe Placido M. Nicolini, Bishop of Assisi, apparently acting on orders
from within the Vatican, directed that assistance be given the Jews in whatever way possible.
Aldo Brunacci, who was at the time secretary to the Bishop, helped oversee the hiding of the Jews in the convents,
monasteries and friaries of Assisi, with the cooperation of a loose network of clergy and their supporters.
So well organized were their efforts, that the secret operations went miraculously undetected by the German occupation
forces. Approximately 300 of Assisi's Jews survived due to their efforts. Altogether, about 85 percent of Italy's Jews survived.
A month before Italy was liberated by the Allies in May of 1944, Don Aldo himself was arrested. In 1977, Don Aldo
was awarded the medal of the "Righteous Among the Nations" by the State of Israel for his role in the rescue
of hundreds of Jews.
The exhibition originated at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at
St. Bonaventure University, New York, under the leadership of its then executive director, Joseph LoSchiavo. This is the only
metropolitan New York/New Jersey showing of this important exhibition.