Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Assisi Network of Catholics recognized for aid given to Jews during World War II

August 15, 2012. ( The honorary title of Righteous Among the Nations is a recognition by the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem for people who are not Jewish yet risked their lives during World War II to help Jews escape Nazi persecution.

Over 500 of these cases come from Italy alone. During that time, a type of Underground Railroad developed for Jews in Italy known as 'The Assisi Network'.

During the Nazi occupation of Italy and their subsequent man-hunt for Jews, Monsignor Giuseppe Placido Nicolini ordered Father Aldo Brunacci to begin helping the Jewish people by hiding them in monasteries and convents.

Many were provided with false papers, claiming they were from southern Italy, in an area that had already been liberated by American forces. This made it difficult for Nazi troops to verify them.

The Catholic clergy in the region also enlisted the help of locals in order to print the false documents and aid in their escape.

All together, around 300 Jewish people were helped by the Assisi Network. For their bravery, Monsignor Nicolinie and Father Brunacci were both recognized as Righteous among the Nations in 1977. Others in the Assisi Network have also been recognized over the years for the risk they took in helping others to safety.

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