Priest honoured for saving Italian Jews from holocaust

A Portuguese priest has been honoured for his wartime actions in saving of dozens of Jews during the Nazi holocaust.

Fr Joaquim Carreira risked his life to save others while at a Rome pontifical college during the Second World War.

A nephew of Fr Carreria, also a priest, received a medal on his behalf from Israel’s Yad Vashem holocaust museum earlier this month.

The medal was presented at Lisbon’s main synagogue.

Fr Carreira hid Jews and others wanted by Nazi authorities from the security forces of Italy’s Fascist government.

He continued to hide them after Nazi forces occupied Italy and until the end of World War II.

Fr Carreira died in 1981 and is described by people who knew him as a humble man.

His actions remained largely unknown until Portuguese journalist Antonio Marujo began researching his story.

The investigation led to Fr Carreira’s inclusion last year in Yad Vashem’s list of Righteous Among the Nations – Israel’s honorary title for non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

He is the third Portuguese citizen on Yad Vashem’s list.

Portugal’s parliament passed a resolution in Fr Carreira’s honour.

The resolution, which said the priest’s actions showed him to be “a man of great faith”, was adopted on April 20, the birthday of Adolf Hitler.

Meanwhile, a book about the relationship between Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and Pope Pius XI has won a Pulitzer Prize.

David Kertzer’s “The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret History of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe”, delves into how the Church’s actions pre-war may have aided and abetted fascist anti-semitism in Italy.

Kertzer was able to access Vatican documents from between the World Wars, which St John Paul II had made available to researchers.


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News category: World.

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