American soldier at altar in bombed Catholic Church in Acerno, Italy. Acerno was bombed in September 1943 by Anglo-American forces, which destroyed part of the bishop’s palace and the church of S. Maria degli Angeli. This was the scenario feared by civil and religious leaders in Assisi in 1943-44.
– Office of War Information, United States National Archives and Records Administration/ public domain
ASSISI, ITALY-The Italian city of Assisi, that was the home of St. Francis, became from 1943 to 1944, a shelter for thousands of refugees displaced by World War II. Italian Scholar Francesco Santucci has researched and recounted the Catholic effort to protect Jewish refugees. Yesterday Part I told the story of Assisi’s wartime bishop, Guiseppi Nicolini, and his priest secretary, Father Aldo Brunacci, who together masterminded the network of hiding places for Jewish families in the city’s convents, monasteries and private homes—including the bishop’s palace. Part II recounts the strategy that prevented Assisi from suffering any military damage despite its location in an embattled region....READ MORE