23 September 2013
Yad Vashem has posthumously recognized Gino Bartali from Italy as Righteous Among the Nations. Bartali was a champion cyclist and a beloved public figure. During the German occupation of Italy (beginning in September 1943), Bartali, a devout Catholic, was part of a rescue network spearheaded by Rabbi Nathan Cassuto of Florence together with the Archbishop of Florence Cardinal Elia Angelo Dalla Costa (previously recognized as Righteous Among the Nations). This Jewish-Christian network, set up following the German occupation of Italy and the onset of deportation of Jews, saved hundreds of local Jews and Jewish refugees from territories which had previously been under Italian control, mostly in France and Yugoslavia.
Gino Bartali acted as a courier for the network, secreting forged documents and papers in his bicycle and transporting them between cities, all under the guise of training. Knowingly risking his life to rescue Jews, Bartali transferred falsified documents to various contacts, among them Rabbi Cassuto.
A ceremony will be held in Italy at a date to be determined.