Italian priest who saved Jews beatified

ROME (JTA) – An Italian priest who was killed for his efforts to save Jews during World War II was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church.

Father Giuseppe Girotti, whom Yad Vashem declared a Righteous Among the Nations in 1995, was beatified at a ceremony in the town of Alba, in northern Italy.

Beatification is the next step before sainthood.

News of the ceremony was overshadowed by the canonization the next morning in Rome of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II. Girotti, who was born in Alba in 1905, was a professor of theology in Turin. He was murdered at the Dachau concentration camp.

According to Yad Vashem, after the Nazis occupied northern and central Italy in September 1943, Girotti “dedicated his efforts” to the rescue of many Jews in Turin.

“Risking his life, Girotti acted according to his values and religious beliefs, arranging safe hideouts and organizing escape routes from the country,” the Yad Vashem website said.

Girotti’s actions were reported by an informer, the website said, and he was arrested on Aug. 29, 1944, when he was “caught in the middle of transferring a wounded Jewish partisan” to a safe house. He was held in various prisons and camps before being shipped to Dachau, where he was murdered on Easter , April 1, 1945.

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