The photo exhibit, "Memoria: Assisi and the Jews, 1943-1944," will be open for public viewing in the North Campus foyer at the University of Saint Francis (USF) from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on March 17-22.
"Memoria" will transport the viewer to Italy in 1943 during Germany's wartime occupation of the central and northern parts of the country. Through the words, images and perspective of Don Aldo Brunacci, the exhibit recounts the dramatic rescue of several hundred Jewish refugees in Assisi.
Brunacci, a diocesan priest and later canon of the Cathedral of San Rufino in Assisi, was part of a network of Catholic clergy, private citizens and the commander of the German occupation forces, Colonel Valentin Müller, who orchestrated the rescue plan. As secretary to Assisi's Bishop Giuseppe Placido M. Nicolini, who directed the clergy to assist Jewish refugees, Brunacci helped oversee the hiding of Jews in the convents, monasteries and friaries of Assisi.
He eventually entrusted documents and rare objects from his personal collection to the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University in New York for the "Memoria" exhibit, passing away two days after the exhibit's opening in 2007.
The exhibit will occur in tandem with a lecture and book signing by Father Andre Cirino, OFM, co-author of "Three Heroes of Assisi in World War II: Bishop Guiseppe Nicolini, Colonel Valentin Muller and Don Aldo Brunacci," on Tuesday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the North Campus auditorium. Segments of a documentary featuring interviews with Brunacci and footage of wartime Assisi during the occupation can also be viewed at the exhibit site.
The exhibit and associated lecture are free and open to the public through sponsorship by the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne, the USF Center for Franciscan Spirit and Life and the university's History Department.