The award was conferred Wednesday by Tibor Schlosser, adviser of the Israeli Embassy in Rome, in Gallarate, where the deceased jewelery maker once lived. Torreggiani´s daughter Emilia received the medal and certificate of honor awarded to her father.

The title "Righteous Among Nations," which since 1963 has been conferred on some 18,300 people (including spouses Oskar and Emile Schindler), was instituted in 1952 by the Israeli Parliament to honor outstanding individuals who assisted Jews during the Nazi persecution.

Fernando Torreggiani, an anti-fascist Catholic who was close to the partisans, risked his life in December 1943 to help a family of Italian Jews who were fleeing from German officers.

Torreggiani´s courage enabled Giulio and Nelda Melli, their daughter Carmen and her husband Mario Rossi, and the latter´s children Anna and Gianfranco Rossi, 15 and 12, respectively, to escape deportation to an extermination camp.