March 5, 2010.
During the Holocaust, thousands of jews sought refuge inside convents throughout Europe. Including here, at the Tre Fontane Abbey in RomeFr. Jacques Brière
Tre Fontane Abbot (Rome)
“In 1943, this monastery served as a site for refugees, patriotic Italians and Jews who were being persecuted by the Gestapo.”
But the Jews who were taken in didn’t have to hide in basements or attics, they were able to live in plain sight by pretending to be workers contracted by the monks of the abbey. Fr. Jacques Brière
Tre Fontane Abbot (Rome) “The Jews were well off here in the abbey because they had nowhere to hide but posing as workers in the community’s so they were able to go, work, etc.”
During the year1943 the abbot of Tre Fontane, Ehrard Don Leone, welcomed at least 5 Jews. It was on his own initiative, following the indications of Pius XII. When World War II ended, some survivors donated this bas relief of the Virgin Mary to the abbey. But they weren’t the only ones who recognized the courageous acts of the abbot. In 2002 the State of Israel granted the abbot the title ‘Righteous Among the Nations'.Fr. Jacques Brière
Tre Fontane Abbot (Rome) “Today, some of the Holocaust survivors still come to visit, not only because it’s a beautiful and quiet place but because this is a historic site.”
The history of mankind is bound to the history of this famous abbey. In fact this is where St. Paul was martyred. And it was in this place during World War II when the famous motto “one who save a man who saves mankind” prevailed.