ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — The president of St. Bonaventure University will share her memories of a World War II hero at the Interfaith Holocaust Commemoration at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 19, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 724 Delaware Ave., Buffalo.
The annual community event honors those who lost their lives and those who tried to save lives during the Holocaust. Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom Hashoah, falls on April 15 this year.
Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., will talk about Don Aldo Brunacci, who died Feb. 1 in Assisi, Italy, at the age of 92.
Sr. Margaret’s experience as a student in Italy led to her friendship with Brunacci, a priest of the Diocese of Assisi who assisted in the rescue of more than 200 Jewish refugees during World War II. Sr. Margaret brought Don Aldo to the campus of St. Bonaventure on two occasions, promoting opportunities for Christian-Jewish dialogue about the Holocaust.
In 2002, the University awarded Brunacci an honorary degree and, in March 2004, St. Bonaventure honored him with its first National Gaudete Medal during a special program at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
During World War II, with the help of other clerics, Brunacci arranged the printing of false documents for the Jews, allowing them to obtain official stamps to aid in their escape.
Brunacci put his life on the line when he lodged Jewish families in his own residence. On May 15, 1944, the Nazis arrested Brunacci, transporting him to a concentration camp, but never discovering the family in hiding. The Allies freed him and other prisoners on June 4 when they entered Rome.
Carney was honored in January by the National Federation for Just Communities (NFJC) of Western New York for her efforts to promote interfaith dialogue and environments, including the establishment of SBU’s multicultural Damietta Center.
The program is sponsored by the NFJC, The Network of Religious Communities, and The Holocaust Resource Center of Buffalo.