Pope recognizes first Italian martyr for helping Jews during the Holocaust
(Romereports.com) Odoardo Focherini was an Italian newspaper editor and a father of seven. During World War II, he helped hundreds of Jews escape Nazi persecution by giving them false documents to cross the Swiss border to safety.
His life is a story that has been retold by historians such as Anna Foa, an expert in European Jewish history. She says the letters he wrote to his family from the concentration camp shows his resolve to help those being persecuted.
Professor of History, La Sapienza University “There is a sentence that he writes ‘if you could see how they treat the Jews here in the camp, we would have done much more than what we did.”
On May 10, Benedict XVI announced that Focherini would become a Blessed in recognition of his martyrdom. The act will make him the first Italian to be beatified for helping the Jewish people during the holocaust.
Professor of History, La Sapienza University “It must be said for Focherini, now there has been this great step toward his beatification and he has been recognized as a savior of the Jews and of the Jewish community.”
In 1969, Focherini was also recognized for his actions by the State of Israel and the Holocaust Memoral of Yad Vashem. He is also included in the list of ‘Righteous Among the Nations’, those who risked their lives to help Jews during the holocaust.
This new recognition by the Catholic Church will make him one step away from becoming a saint.