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Jewish historian, in Vatican newspaper, defends ‘Italian Schindler’ accused of Nazi collaboration

Catholic World News - October 03, 2013

Anna Foa, a Jewish history professor at the Sapienza University of Rome, has come to the defense of Giovanni Palatucci (1909-45), an Italian layman previously hailed for saving 5,000 Jews during World War II and now accused of being a Nazi collaborator.

Palatucci, the nephew of a bishop, died in the Nazi concentration camp at Dachau; he was an Italian Fascist police officer and is frequently referred to as the “Italian Schindler.” His beatification cause was begun at the diocesan level in 2002.

Earlier this year, Italian historian Marco Coslovich published a work questioning claims that Palatucci aided Jews. On the contrary, said Coslovich, archival documents “show that he extorted money from Jews and confiscated their goods. He carried out his job fully, as a willing enabler of the Fascist regime,” NPR reported.

Writing in the October 3 edition of L’Osservatore Romano, Foa countered that Coslovich failed to take into account the oral testimonies of those who claimed they were saved by Patalucci. Foa asserted that the Primo Levi Center, which supports Coslovich’s conclusions, “now denies value to the words and testimonies of those who have been saved by Palatucci or those of their children who often listened to those stories.”

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