Oro Macht Frei (Gold Will Set You Free) to be shown at the University of Rhode Island, Nov. 7

Film tells little known tale of the Italian Jewish Community during the Holocaust

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KINGSTON, R.I. – November 1, 2016 — The 70 minute documentary “Oro Macht Frei” (Gold Will Set You Free) will be shown at the University of Rhode Island on Monday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m., with a reception at 6:30 p.m. Free and open to the public, the film screening will be held in the Agnes Doody Auditorium in Swan Hall, 60 Upper College Rd., Kingston, RI.

The film’s title is borrowed from the infamous words above the gate at Auschwitz: Arbeit Macht Frei— Work Will Set You Free. Oro Macht Frei — Gold Will Set You Free — refers to the extortion the Nazis placed upon the Italian Jewish community to come up with 50 kilos of gold within 36 hours against the threat that, if they did not come up with the gold, 200 heads of family would be deported.

Through the testimonies of nine Roman Jews, archival footage, family photos and with the participation of renowned historians “Oro Macht Frei ” tells the story of the nine-month Nazi occupation of Rome (September 1943 through June 1944). In addition to individual stories of Jews in hiding and arrest, the film examines the period of Mussolini’s Racial Laws (1938 -1945) and the Catholic Church’s response to the roundup of the Roman Jews.

This film presents a unique opportunity for viewers in that it will be followed by a discussion led by its writer and producer, Catherine Campbell, and by Holocaust scholar and URI Professor Emeritus of History Dr. Robert Weisbord. Campbell has worked as an Italian teacher, translator and interpreter and has lived and worked between Italy and the USA since 1994. Educated at New York University ’s Doctoral Program in Italian Studies, Campbell brought her extensive knowledge of Italian language and culture, along with her academic research interests in the field of Italian history and storytelling to the film. Weisbord is the author of six books including “The Chief Rabbi, the Pope and the Holocaust: An Era in Vatican-Jewish Relations,” praised for its valuable contribution to both the Holocaust literature and the literature of Jewish-Catholic relations. He taught “The History of the Holocaust” class at URI to a generation of students.

The film is sponsored by URI Hillel, The Harrington School of Communication and Media at URI, the URI Film Media Program, the URI College of Arts and Sciences, the Sandra Bornstein Holocaust Education Center with additional support from the URI History Department, URI Italian Studies, the URI Catholic Center, the URI Chaplains Association, URI Gender and Women ’s Studies and the URI Women’s Center. For more information contact Amy Olson, URI Hillel Executive Director at amyolson@uri.edu or 401-874-2740