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A priest who saved hundreds of Jews during WWII by disguising them as seminarians

2012-08-05

TULLIO CITRINI
Rector, Pontifical Lombard Seminary

"One night, just before Christmas in 1943, Hitler supporters came in and took away several of the Jews. Not many really, because they were well hidden.”

The former rector tried to stop it. He said the seminary was a neutral zone and German troops were forbidden to enter. However, his resistance only led to his arrest.

TULLIO CITRINI
Rector, Pontifical Lombard Seminary

"That night, they also took the rector. He was later set free because Monsignor Montini, from the Vatican's Secretariat of State, sent someone on his behalf,  so that German troops, would release him.”

Others managed to escape by taking a tram in this plaza and then hiding in Rome's St. Mary Major Basilica.

Still, more than 70 years later, the courage of this priest, in risking his life to save the life of persecuted Jews, is still recognized. When he was ordained a bishop, he wore this cross, which is actually a gift that was given to him, by the Jews he saved.

Francesco Bertoglio, died in 1970. Thirty one years later, the State of Israel issued the "Righteous Among the Nations” honor  for risking his life for the Jewish people.


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