Skip to comments.(Italian) Righteous Gentile Honored Posthumously in Yad Vashem
Posted on 02/10/2005 2:09:41 PM PST by anotherview
Righteous Gentile Honored Posthumously in Yad Vashem
16:15 Feb 10, '05 / 1 Adar 5765
A ceremony posthumously honoring Giovanni Palatucci of Italy as a Righteous Gentile took place at Yad Vashem today. Italian Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu took part.
The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum reports that Giovanni Palatucci served as commissioner in the office for foreigners in the police headquarters of the north Italian town of Fiume (today located in Croatia). Beginning at the end of 1938, he tried to prevent the implementation of the race laws enacted against the Jews by the Italian fascist regime.
In March 1939, Palatucci learned of more than 800 Jewish refugees who were set to sail to Palestine via Fiume. While collaborators with the Nazi regime hoped to waylay the ship and send the refugees back to Germany, Palatucci alerted the passengers and they safely reached southern Italy.
With the outbreak of World War II, Palatuccis activities on behalf of the Jews accelerated. He provided residency permits, and tried to provide hiding places, food and money for them as well. When the Germans invaded Italy in September 1943 and occupied Fiume, Palatuccis efforts to save Jews became especially dangerous. Nevertheless, he took added steps to save the local Jews of Fiume and the refugees who had joined them, providing false papers to any Jew who required them.
In September 1944, someone informed on him, leading to his arrest by the Gestapo and his sentencing to death. Instead of being shot, however, his sentence was commuted to exile and he was sent to the Dachau camp, where he died four months later in February 1945 at the age of 36.
After the war, the Group of Italian Jewish Communities presented Palatuccis family with a Gold Medal in appreciation for his actions. In September 1990, Palatucci was posthumously recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Among the Nations. Because he had no living relatives at the time of his recognition, the medal and certificate were kept by Yad Vashem. At the request of the Italian police, it was presented today to Italian Police Commissioner Giovanni De Gennaro.
Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra was on hand today to greet the visitors Italy's Ambassador to Israel HE Sandro De Bernardin, the Police Commissioner, Italian immigrants in Israel, and a delegation of some 160 people from Italy. Elizabeth Quitt-Ferber, one of the survivors saved by Palatucci, also attended the ceremony.
More information about the Righteous Among the Nations program is available at "http://www.yadvashem.org/righteous/index_righteous.html".
The worst in some people brings out the best in others.
A crisp salute to Giovanni Palatucci for demonstrating what true courage is.
There was an earlier thread about Palatucci today (1340451), and an article about him posted last June ("The Wartime Policeman who saved Thousands of Jews") -- www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1153509/posts
(when that article was written his fiancee was still alive).
Martin Gilbert's "The Righteous" is a incredible read.