▶️ Bend family donates father’s rare WWII collection to US Holocaust Museum


A family from Bend has donated a collection of artifacts taken from the desk of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini at the end of WWII. 

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum now holds the collection of telegrams between Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, plus never-before-seen pictures of the two dictators at the height of their power.

Last year, we introduced you to Alex Sabbadini, a Jewish Italian who fled Fascist Italy to the United States. 

RELATED: Unseen History Pt. 1: Bend man’s unique WWII documents heading to museum in D.C.

RELATED: Unseen History Pt. 2: Bend man’s father leaves Europe with relics of Axis powers

He returned as an interpreter and intelligence specialist with the U.S. Army and helped defeat the Fascists and the Nazis.

A few weeks ago, Sabbadini’s efforts were recognized by the United States and Italian governments.

“It is a special evening to celebrate the donation of the Sabbadini family archive to the David Rubenstein National Institute for Holocaust Documentation at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,” said Mariangel Zappia, Ambassador of Italy to the U.S.

Watch Part 1 of our original story on Alex Sabbadini in the player below

Zappia said making the Sabbadini collection of Mussolini artifacts accessible to researchers is a powerful way to raise awareness of the Holocaust. 

“The collection consists of historical documents, photographs, artifacts and oral history records meticulously gathered and carefully preserved by the Sabbadini family. These materials are a critical contribution to the collection of record of the Holocaust,” Rebecca Boehling, Director of the David M. Rubenstein National Institute for Holocaust Documentation.

“We are very happy that we have now placed these materials in really good hands,” said Roger Sabbadini.

Roger, who now lives in Bend, inherited his father’s collection in 2004. 

Alex Sabbadini found many of the documents on Mussolini’s desk in North Italy, where the dictator left them when he tried to escape.

Watch Part 2 of our original story on Alex Sabbadini in the player below

Roger Sabbadini spent 12 years researching and writing “Unavoidable Hope,” a book about his father’s war-time service.

“As part of the stipulation of our donations of these materials to the museum, they will create a digital web page, an Alex Sabbadini web page. All the items that can be digitized will be up on the site. That includes the video that Central Oregon Daily News produced, so that 10 minute video will be up forever on the Alex Sabbadini page,” he said.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s mission is to advance knowledge about the state-sponsored, systematic persecution and annihilation of six million European Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945.

The museum’s physical and digital exhibits, of which the Sabbadini materials will soon be a part, preserves the memory of those who suffered; encourages visitors to reflect upon the moral and spiritual questions raised by the Holocaust, as well as their own responsibilities as citizens of a democracy.

“Your father was a true hero. I read the book. We had several meetings. He was Jewish. He was Italian. He became American. A real patriot of this country. That I think is a very important and vital contribution not only to our archival collection but also to research on the Holocaust,” said Vadim Altsan, Senior Project Director of the International Archival Programs, David M. Rubenstein National Institute for Holocaust Documentation.


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