Historic Significance of Assisi in Protecting Jewish Refugees

On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Pave the Way Foundation Tells Exaudi of Upcoming Exhibition in America

World Day of the Poor: The Pontiff Will Go to Assisi
The Pope at the Porziuncola (Assisi) in 2016 (C) Vatican Media

The famous Italian hill town of Assisi played a significant role historically in protecting Jewish refugees.

To highlight this reality, the Pave the Way Foundation is sponsoring a historic presentation in New York with the Diocese of Assisi, Italy, “recognizing the brave lifesaving actions taken by the clergy and citizens of Assisi in protecting Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.”

Today, Jan. 27, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Pope Francis visited the Nazi death camps of Auschwitz on July 29, 2016 during his Apostolic Visit to Poland on the occasion of World Youth Day. While visiting in silence, he wrote in Spanish in Auschwitz’s book of honor, “Lord, have mercy on your people. Lord, forgiveness for so much cruelty.”

During Wednesday’s weekly General Audience, the Pope recalled today’s anniversary, underscoring: “It is necessary to remember the extermination of millions of Jews, and people of different nationalities and religious faiths. This unspeakable cruelty must never be repeated.”

“I appeal to everyone, especially educators and families,” Pope Francis pleaded, “to foster in the new generations an awareness of the horror of this black page of history. It must not be forgotten, so that we can build a future where human dignity is no longer trampled underfoot.”

‘The Unspeakable Cruelty of Holocaust Must Never Be Repeated,’ Insists Pope

Pope’s Long Talk Today With Edith Bruck
Today, at the Pope’s residence of Casa Santa Marta–as stated by the Holy See Press Office in a note this evening–Pope Francis “had a long and affectionate conversation, lasting about an hour, with Holocaust survivor Mrs. Edith Bruck, just under a year after his visit to the writer’s home in Rome.”
“Both underlined,” the Vatican said, “the inestimable value of transmitting the memory of the past to the youngest, even in its most painful aspects, in order not to fall back into the same tragedies.”
All photos with Mrs. Bruck in this article are Vatican Media copyright.

To Save Jews From Nazi Barbarism, Catholics Performed Lifesaving Acts at Own Peril

The Pave the Way Foundation, who has recognized Assisi in protecting Jewish refugees, is an international organization whose mission is to initiate historical projects and remove obstacles between religions.

“With Northern Italy occupied by German troops in 1943, the historic town of Assisi, home of Saint Francis of Assisi,” PTWF Founder, Gary Krupp, told EXAUDI: “found itself thrown into the atrocities of war. Archbishop Nicolini, acting on requests from Rome, rallied Assisi’s clergy and citizens to come together and save the lives of their Jewish brethren, being hunted down by the Nazis.”

The Foundation’s Chairman, Elliot Hershberg, similarly observed: “At a time in history when forces around the world would strive to divide rather than unite, we are reminded by this exhibit of the historic, lifesaving acts of conscience Roman Catholics performed, at their own peril, to help and save so many Jewish victims of Nazi barbarism.”

About the Exhibit

The exhibit will utilize panels from the “Museo della Memoria Assisi” (The Museum of Memory) and will feature a roundtable discussion featuring Professor Johan Ickx, Archivist for the Historical Archives of the Vatican Secretary of State, and Elizabeth Bettina, author of “It Happened in Italy.”

Archbishop of Assisi, Domenico Sorrentino, the mayor of Assisi, Stefania Proietti,the museum’s founder and curator, Marina Rosati, and Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo, responsible for English-speaking affairs, will be attending.

“How happy we are to bring our museum to America,” Archbishop Sorrentino expressed. “Not only to remember a great page of light that shone through a dark time in history, but also to tell the world that good can and must win over evil. Like the Jews, too many people are stripped of their dignity as human beings.”

“St. Francis of Assisi stripped himself to be a universal brother. In his footsteps, we welcome the initiative of Gary Krupp, his Chairman and Board and thank all of our gracious hosts who help us ‘pave the way’ together to witness to fraternity and peace,” he said.

Yad Vashem has recognized 7 of the heroes of Assisi as Righteous among the Nations

Ms. Rosati looks forward to “this important opportunity offered to us to make known the extraordinary history of Assisi in the dark period of the Holocaust, when some 300 Jews were welcomed, helped and saved; no one was deported and killed and the Yad Vashem has recognized 7 of the heroes of Assisi as Righteous among the Nations.

“Many other citizens,” Rosati  stated, “have committed themselves to this great work of welcoming, defeating indifference and showing the most beautiful face of this city which, also through this Museum, wants to witness and sow a culture of good all over the world.”

Two events will take place, the first at Temple Israel in New Rochelle, Tuesday, April 5, 2022 and the second at St. John’s University in Queens, Wednesday, April 6, 2022.

Rabbi Jay Rosenbaum and Temple Israel of New Rochelle stated: “We are honored to host The Assisi Museum Exhibit, and excited to lead the roundtable discussion. The congregation of Temple Israel of New Rochelle and I welcome this unique opportunity to fulfill the Mitzvah of Zachor, remembrance of the Shoah in a world seemingly filled with moral amnesia.”

Memorializing 6 Million Jews Murdered, & Assisi’s Righteous Who Risked All to Save Them

“With this exhibit,” the rabbi continued, “we not only memorialize the 6,000,000 Jews who were murdered by the Nazis, but the righteous of Assisi who risked everything to save innocent Jewish lives. May their souls be bound up in the bond of eternal life, as we honor them through this project of reconciliation and hope with the light of love.”

“It is a privilege and honor to welcome the Assisi Museum of Memory Exhibit to St. John’s,” commented Joseph Sciame, Vice-President for Community Relations at St. John’s University.

“By doing so, we honor the memory of so many who afforded our Jewish sisters and brothers in those dark days in Italy, what one might call ‘the gift of life’ from the citizenry in that area, as well as so many other communities in Italy at that time. Our Judeo-Christian history impels us to not forget, but also reconciles us with a sense of solidarity and dialogue.”

The event is open to all. All religions are welcome and encouraged to attend. The public is asked to register for the in-person event or for the webcast by emailing [email protected].