Non-jewish Italians Presented with Gold Medals for Saving Jews Under Nazis

Several non-Jewish Italians, including five Catholic priests, who, during the Nazi occupation of their country, courageously helped to save Jewish lives, received gold commemorative medals at an Embassy reception here on the occasion of the 19th anniversary of Israel’s statehood.

The awards, especially minted by the Israel Government, were presented by Israel’s Ambassador to Italy, Ehud Avriel. An embassy spokesman, announcing the awards, said that “Israel and the Jews all over the world have not forgotten and will never forget those who supported and assisted their brothers during the darkest hours of Jewish history.”

The clergymen in the group are: Don Giovanni Simioni and Don Angelo Torre, both from Treviso; Commendatore Ezio Giorgiette, Bellaria; Don Giuseppe Di Zotti, Rome; Monsignore Leto Casini, Florence; and Don Arrigo Beccari, 75, a priest from Nonatola. The latter had been deported by the Germans because he and Dr. Giuseppe Moreali, in the winter of 1943-44, had smuggled youth aliyah children who had been evacuated from many countries, and were placed in hiding in the priest’s home town, near Mantua.

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