Assisi Network

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Assisi Cathedral. The churches, monasteries and convents of Assisi served as a safe haven for several hundred Jews during the German occupation.

The Assisi Network was an underground network established by Catholic clergy during the Nazi Occupation of Italy which protected Jewish people from the Nazis. The churches, monasteries and convents of Assisi served as a safe haven for several hundred Jews during the German occupation. Historian of the Holocaust Martin Gilbert credits the network established by Bishop Giuseppe Placido Nicolini and Father Rufino NicacciGuardian or superior of the Franciscan monastery of San Damiano,[1] with saving 300 people.[2]

When the Nazis began rounding up Jews, Monsignor Nicolini, Bishop of Assisi, under orders from Monsignor Montini (later Pope Paul VI), assistant to Pope Pius XII,[3] ordered Father Aldo Brunacci to lead a rescue operation and arranged sheltering places in 26 monasteries and convents, and providing false papers for transit - the "Assisi Network". Nicolini authorized the hiding of Jews in places that were regularly closed to outsiders by papal monastic regulations and his "Committee of Assistance" transformed Assisi into a shelter for many Jews, while assisting others to pass safely through the town to other places of safety. Respect for Jewish religious practices saw Yom Kippur celebrated at Assisi in 1943, with nuns preparing the meal to end the fast.[4]

The activities of the network were the subject of a 1978 book, The Assisi Underground by Alexander Ramati and a subsequent film in 1985, starring Ben Cross and James Mason as Bishop Nicolini.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Andrea Gagliarducci,CNA, Oct.5,2013
  2. ^ Gilbert, Martin (2002). The Righteous - The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust. Doubleday. p. 323. ISBN 038560100X. 
  3. ^ Andrea Gagliarducci, CNA Catholic News Agency, Oct 5, 2013
  4. ^ Assisi Network published by Yad Vashem

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