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Italian Saint or Nazi Collaborator?
June 20, 2013 2:23 PM   Subscribe

Honored by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations in 1990. Giovanni Palatucci was considered the Italian Schindler. Giovanni's name has recently been removed from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum after the Centro Primo Levi at the Center for Jewish History sent a letter to the Museum with evidence that Giovanni was really a Nazi Collaborator.
posted by Arbac (12 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting story. Wouldn't it have required a major conspiracy of various sources to build up the history that bestowed on him that honor?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:41 PM on June 20, 2013


Not a conspiracy per se, just a bunch of powerful constituencies who have a vested interest in making Palatucci's story as "real" as possible. So much of what we consider to be popular history is really just powerful groups attempting to justify their actions or even their existence.
posted by Avenger at 2:59 PM on June 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was going to say something about how Schindler himself was in a sense a collaborator, working within the regime to give himself enough credibility with the Nazis to conceal his efforts to keep people alive, but that's not at all what happened here. "Fiume had only 500 Jews by 1943, and...most of them — 412, or about 80 percent — ended up at Auschwitz, a higher percentage than in any other Italian city." Palatucci was actually possibly the worst of the worst.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:03 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


It doesn't sound like it was a conspiracy. A pack of historians did what they do best, digging through records, and found that the numbers did not support the myth.
posted by munchingzombie at 3:05 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Looks like it all goes back to nothing more than a story his uncle (a bishop) told in 1952: no proof, no documentation, just his uncle making up a reason for that uncle's sister and brother-in-law to receive a government pension. And, because it also made the Church look good (and Pope Pius needed all the good PR he could get), the church went along with it.
posted by easily confused at 5:28 PM on June 20, 2013


Last month the Giovanni Palatucci Association credited his otherworldly intervention for the miraculous disappearance of a man’s kidney tumor as part of the case being made for sainthood.

Did he sign his name to the MRI or something? How do they know it wasn't the ghost of St. Ignatius? Or Wilt Chamberlain or Robert Urich, for that matter.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:35 PM on June 20, 2013


Did he sign his name to the MRI or something? How do they know it wasn't the ghost of St. Ignatius? Or Wilt Chamberlain or Robert Urich, for that matter.

Are you kidding me?! Wilt Chamberlin? That guy gets you a weeping statute at best. Urich though, that guy just might be a kidney healer.
posted by vorpal bunny at 5:46 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Collaboration can be a complex issue, from what I've heard.

Aside from Schindler's List, there is also the film Black Book by Paul Verhoeven, which goes into the grey areas, and is not as popular.
posted by ovvl at 6:04 PM on June 20, 2013


The sad thing is that there are still only around 25,000 people recognised as being one of the "Righteous Among the Nations" even though the requirements (repeated assistance of a Jew during the holocaust) are pretty low and the documentary requirements aren't high. In this case it was mostly "Oh, sure, my nephew helped a lot of Jews!"
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:52 PM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


the miraculous disappearance of a man’s kidney tumor as part of the case being made for sainthood.

Oh for pete's sake.
posted by Mario Speedwagon at 8:10 PM on June 20, 2013


Recently another Righteous Gentile Raoul Wallenburg was made an honourary Australian. His bravery is amazing. Survived the war only to be executed in secret by the NKVD.
posted by Mario Speedwagon at 8:34 PM on June 20, 2013


Italian Saint or Nazi Collaborator?

Or both?!
posted by telstar at 1:23 AM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


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