May 26, 2017
- Ireland’s Overlooked “Oskar Schindler” – Michael Riordan
In World War II, Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, an Irish priest and Vatican diplomat, was wanted by the Nazis. “Monsignor O’Flaherty left the safety of the Vatican to run his escape line,” said Jerry O’Grady, chairman of the Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Society in the priest’s hometown in Killarney, Ireland. “The Gestapo had a price on his head and they tried to kidnap him many times.” The Society is preparing an application to Yad Vashem to have their local hero, who is credited with concealing hundreds of Jews from the Gestapo, listed as Righteous Among the Nations.
In the last years of the war, O’Flaherty organized a group of priests, anti-Fascists and diplomats to help shelter Jews, escaped POWs and refugees. He set up a network of safe havens in rented apartments and religious houses throughout Rome. Claudio-Ilan Jacobi, now living in Israel, is one of the Jews O’Flaherty saved. “I saw the Monsignor many times,” Jacobi wrote in his statement for Yad Vashem. “He helped my mother, my grandparents and me find refuge from the Nazis. He got false papers for us from the Vatican as well as food cards. I remember the great appreciation my mother had for all he did.” (Times of Israel)