Roman Parishes Helped to Save Jews During War

ROME, SEPT. 26, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Beginning in 1943, when the Nazis were determined to exterminate the Jews in Italy, 155 parishes as well as dozens of convents in Rome helped to save 4,447 Jews.

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This is revealed in a list compiled in 1945 by Father Beato Ambord, a document made public Tuesday at a conference organized by the Coordination of Religious Historians.

The symposium noted that the Church’s assistance to Jews was much greater than was previously thought. In fact, it was confirmed that at least seven houses of women religious and nine congregations of nuns are not on the list of institutions that sheltered persecuted Jews.

Emmanuelle Pacifici, president of the Friends of Yad Vashem Association and son of the rabbi of Genoa at the time of World War II, told ZENIT that he owed his life to a cardinal and his accommodation in convents. Priests and men and women religious risked their lives to shelter Jews, Pacifici added.

He also revealed that Father Gaetano Tantalo, a parish priest in the town of Tagliacozzo, not only took in Pacifici’s uncles, but also got the flour to make unleavened bread for the Jewish Passover.

“The Catholic Church has initiated the investigation for his cause of beatification,” Pacifici noted.

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