Giorno della Memoria at the Museum of Jewish Heritage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 7, 2015
Contacts: Betsy Aldredge / (646) 437-4337 / baldredge@mjhnyc.org

Museum Welcomes Primo Levi Center for Special Co-Presentation of Oro Macht Frei (Gold Will Set You Free)
And NY Premiere of Once-Lost Italian Jewish Home Movies at the Museum of Jewish Heritage — A Living Memorial to the Holocaust

New York, NY — On Sunday, January 25 at 2:30 p.m., the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust and the Primo Levi Center will co-present Oro Macht Frei (Gold Will Set You Free) (2013, 70 min., English and Italian with English subtitles), a new film which sheds light on the persecution and deportation of the Jews of Rome.

Alessandra Di Castro, Director of the Jewish Museum of Rome, will offer introductory remarks on the history of the Jews of Rome and showcase a new 3-D reconstruction of the Roman Ghetto as it was in 1870 before demolition. Ms. Di Castro and producer Catherine Campbell will be on-hand for a post-screening discussion. The afternoon will also serve as the New York premiere of Memory Recovered – The Della Seta and Di Segni Family Films (1923). Featuring weddings, leisure time, and other daily activities, the films are the only known video document of Italian Jewish life before the Holocaust. This program will take place at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan.

Natalia Indrimi, Director of the Primo Levi Center, said, “Seventy years after the end of World War II, these two films invite us to reflect upon the experience of the oldest Jewish community in the western world, and its symbolic, centuries-long relationship with the Church. The film examines how all sides are still struggling to confront the massive deportation which started on October 16th and continued for nine months ‘under the Pope’s windows.’ On the other hand, the Della Seta family films show what life was like 50 years after the Roman Jews were freed from the ghetto, right before the rise of fascism and the birth of a new chapter of Italian anti-Semitism.”

Tickets are $10 adults, $7 students/seniors, $5 for members and are available online at www.mjhnyc.org or by calling the Museum’s box office at 646.437.4202.

The Museum’s Public Programs are made possible through a generous gift from Mrs. Lily Safra.

About the Films
Directed by Jeffrey Bonna, Ora Macht Frei sheds light on the persecution of Jews in Italy with particular focus on the Nazis’ demand for gold in return for Jewish hostages. The film is told through the personal testimonies of nine Roman Jews, archival footage, family photos and the contributions of renowned scholars on the subject including Alexander Stille, Susan Zuccotti, Liliana Picciotto, Frank Coppa, and Robert Katz. The film also examines the period of Mussolini’s Racial laws (1938-1945) and the Catholic Church’s response to the roundup of the Roman Jews.

The program will also include the New York premiere of Recovered Memory, a nine minute archival film of the Della Seta family. The only known video document of Italian Jewish life before the Holocaust, the Della Seta family films were shot in 1923-24 and feature weddings, leisure time, and other daily activities. Italian journalist Claudio Della Seta found the films in his family home but never imagined they would be able to be seen again. Recently, he discovered that the National Restoration Institute had the capability to restore and digitalize them. After 91 years, the films were brought back to life in all their splendor, wit, and tenderness.

About The Primo Levi Center
Inspired by the humanistic legacy of writer and chemist Primo Levi, who survived Auschwitz and defined the place of memory in modern societies, The Primo Levi Center is dedicated to studying the history and culture of Italian Jewry, sharing beyond linguistic borders its current ferments and future perspectives. The Primo Levi Center provides an English language portal for Italian Jewish studies and community news connecting the Italian Jewish worlds in Italy, Israel, and the US. Based at the Center for Jewish History in New York, The Primo Levi Center serves academia and the general public through resources, programs, networking, exchange opportunities, and educational initiatives.

About the Museum
The Museum’s exhibitions educate people of all ages and backgrounds about the rich tapestry of Jewish life over the past century—before, during, and after the Holocaust. Current special exhibitions include Against the Odds: American Jews and the Rescue of Europe’s Refugees, 1933-1941, on view through February 15, 2015 and A Town Known as Auschwitz: The Life and Death of a Jewish Community. It is also home to the award-winning Keeping History Center, an interactive visitor experience, and Andy Goldsworthy’s memorial Garden of Stones. The Museum offers visitors a vibrant public program schedule in its Edmond J. Safra Hall and receives general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

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