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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776
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Honored ‘Italian Schindler’ Exposed as Nazi Collaborator

How could a Italian Nazi collaborator be termed a “Righteous Gentile?” Perhaps it was Italian guilt, Catholic guilt, and family guilt. The tale of Giovanni Palatucci saving Jews may be a gross fraud.

New resarch exposes as a fraud the legacy of Giovanni Palatucci as a Righteous Gentile

New resarch exposes as a fraud the legacy of Giovanni Palatucci as a Righteous Gentile
Photo Credit: adl.org

One of the grossest frauds imaginable has exposed the “Italian Schindler,” Giovanni Palatucci, as a Nazi collaborator who sent Jews to death and did not save them. The Giovanni Palatucci Association defends his glory against “revisionist historians.”

Palatucci was an Italian police official was arrested by the Nazis in 1944 and sentenced to death. Why he was arrested, and what happened before his arrest now is questioned.

After a review of hundreds of documents, the  Centro Primo Levi Italian research center wrote the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington that not only is there no evidence that he helped save Jews from the Holocaust, he also helped the Hitler regime identify Jews and sent them to death camps.

Until now, Palatucci’s image has been built him into a hero who falsified documents and visas of Jews, ostensibly deporting them to death camps but actually sending them to a Catholic bishop, who was his uncle.

After the Nazis occupied Italy in 1943, he supposedly helped Jews avoid the clutches of the Nazis until he was exposed. Supporters of Palatucci as a Righteous Gentile have written that he was sent to the Dachau concentration camp, where he died before the end of World War II in 1945.

The whole story seems to be a myth that was bought by Holocaust Museum in Washington and the Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial Center in Jerusalem, which honored him posthumously on 1990 as a Righteous Gentile among the Nations.

The Vatican is considering beautifying him.

The research exposing the fraud leaves open the probability that Palatucci’s family, the Vatican and Italian officials tried to hide his collaboration with the Nazis as part of a guilt complex that required them to cover up complicity with crimes against humanity with an equally gross fiction that Palatucci was a hero.

He supposed saved 5,000 Italian Jews from death in a region where the entire Jewish population was less than 2,500. Pasticcio was supposedly a police chief in the city of Fiume and was said to have saved thousands of the city’s Jews from death by sending them to an internment camp in southern Italy where his uncle was to protect them.

However, Anna Pizzuti, editor of the database of foreign Jewish internees in Italy, told the Corrier Della Sera newspaper, “No more than 40 Fiume residents were interned in Campagna. And a third of these ended up in Auschwitz.”

Another claim of Palatucci’s heroism is that he helped 800 Jewish refugees escape via a Greek ship  to the British Mandate of Palestine.

According to port authority documents, it was the Jewish Agency of Zurich that tried to send the Jews, but Palatucci’s superiors refused the request.

It is not even certain he was a  police chief. Author Marco Coslovich wrote in his book “Giovanni Palatucci: A True Recollection,” that “Palatucci never served as chief of police in Fiume” but was an underling who obeyed commands of his anti-Semitic superiors.

The Italian historian Simon Levis Sullam told the London Independent, “I think Italians have in recent years been overwhelmingly preoccupied with finding and worshipping cases of ‘good’ Italians, instead of dealing with Italian responsibilities during fascism and especially during the Holocaust.”

The Giovanni Palatucci Association claims that  the numerous Jews he saved in Italy were not  natives of the country but were Jewish migrants from Europe.

As for his death in Dachau, Italian documents reveal that the Germans arrested him for treason and embezzlement for helping the British but not with saving Jews.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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