The Assisi Museum of Memory exhibition addresses important themes in Italian history, including the Italians' responses to refugees, war, and genocide in the 1930s and ‘40s.
Drawing on an impressive collection of primary sources from the 1930s and ‘40s, the exhibition focuses on the stories of individuals and groups of Italians in Assisi who took action in response to Nazism.
The traveling Assisi Museum of Memory project was initiated by the Pave the Way Foundation after Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino contacted Gary Krupp in January 2022 about creating a reproduction of Assisi's Museum of Memory for exhibition in the United States. To carry this out, Mr. Krupp reached out to Vincent LeVien, who serves on the board of the Pave the Way Foundation while also as the Director of External Affairs of DeSales Media Group and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn. Working closely with Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo and Marina Rosati of the Diocese of Assisi, the replica was recreated in the United States and made its debut with panel discussions at Temple Beth Israel in New Rochelle, New York, and St. John's University in Queens, New York in April 2022. DeSales Media Group recorded these panels, which were introduced by Msgr. Anthony Figueiredo, and were made available online as webinars. Msgr. Figuereido also recorded a walkthrough tour of the exhibition, the video of which is available here:
Msgr. Figueriedo returned to New York in August 2023 to stay with the Pave the Way Foundation's Gary Krupp and his wife Meredith. For this visit, Msgr. Figueiredo gave a most important homily that demonstrated how antisemitism and anti-Judaism are incompatible with the teachings of the Catholic Church during a special Mass at St. Agnes in Rockville Centre, New York, on Monday, August 14, 2023. A special arrangement was made for a reporter from the Diocese of Brooklyn's newspaper The Tablet to interview Msgr. Figueiredo and Gary Krupp prior to the Mass, explains Vincent LeVien.
The story of the Assisi network can help strengthen relations between Christians and Jews, which is so important at this challenging time. Will the exhibit be traveling throughout the United States?
Gary Krupp, Pave the Way Foundation: Pave the Way Foundation and DeSales Media have been rotating the Museum of Memory Exhibition through educational programme to the Archdiocese of New York and further.
Bringing these life-saving actions forward to today's tragedies of war in the Middle East and the current international antisemitism can help educate, empower, and contribute to a better culture of human rights, which is so needed in today’s world.
Vincent LeVien, DeSales Media, Board Member of the Pave the Way Foundation: It's been a true honor due to Gary Krupp’s leadership to help and assist with this very special project that is being shown at Catholic schools throughout New York. Working with Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo, and Marina Rosati of the Diocese of Assisi. What an important time in history to show what happened during the Holocaust!
The only power against evil is knowledge. Pave the Way Foundation and DeSales Media are the peacemakers. What has motivated you to make a difference?
Gary Krupp, Pave the Way Foundation: Our motto is simple. We embody the messages of charity, love, and responsibility for every human being, common to all faiths and beliefs. We embrace our similarities and savor our differences, by appreciating the positive and practical expression of the world’s diverse religions and beliefs. We must not allow the differences to poison us with bigotry, hatred, and intolerance.
Vincent LeVien, DeSales Media, Board Member of the Pave the Way Foundation: Though the leadership of Gary Krupp, meeting Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino in April 2022 and having the honor to sponsor two Museum of Memory events at a Catholic school and a Jewish synagogue. It showed the importance of telling this story. We had Holocaust survivors attend the event at the Jewish Synagogue, thanks to Elizabeth Bettina, author - It Happened in Italy: Untold Stories of How the People of Italy Defied the Horrors of the Holocaust, who has worked with Gary Krupp in telling this very important story.
What lessons would you like viewers of the exhibit to learn?
Gary Krupp, Pave the Way Foundation: The life-saving actions in Assisi are only one example of the worldwide life-saving efforts of the Roman Catholic Church under the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. In addition,
The lesson is the exhibition is clear.
Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God
will not hold us guiltless.
Not to speak is to speak,
Not to act is to act.
Vincent LeVien, DeSales Media, Board Member of the Pave the Way Foundation: It's so important to visit this exhibit and see the amazing work that was done that no one knows about. I have had the honor to visit the Assisi twice, and it truly is the city of peace. The importance of how people helped without caring about themselves getting killed shows the true mission of Catholics: helping those most in need.
At Yad Vashem, Israel’s monument to the Holocaust.
- On April 17, 1974, Yad Vashem recognized Father Rufino Niccacci as Righteous Among the Nations.
- On December 6, 1977, Yad Vashem recognized Monsignor Giuseppe Placido Nicolini and Father Aldo Brunacci as Righteous Among the Nations.
- On July 16, 1997, Yad Vashem recognized Luigi Brizi and his son, Trento, as Righteous Among the Nations.
I would like to thank the Peacemakers Gary Krupp and Vincent LeVien who are actively behind the scenes with the citizens of Assisi to bring this lesser-known extraordinary exhibition to life in the United States.