An Irish priest who dodged the Gestapo for more than two years during the Nazi occupation of Rome was commemorated by the Holy See and the Teutonic College in the Vatican last weekend, which honored the priest for saving thousands of Jewish and Allied soldiers' lives during the Second World War.
Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty was responsible for saving 6,500 Allied soldiers and Jews. His ability to evade the traps set by the German Gestapo and Secret Police by donning assorted disguises earned O'Flaherty the nickname "The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican."Share
"The Scarlet Pimpernel," a novel written in 1905, is a story set during the French Revolution that followed Sir Percy Blakeney, a.k.a. the Scarlet Pimpernel. Blakeney saved many aristocrats using different costumes and disguises, saving them from execution by guillotine at the hands of revolutionaries.
In the early years of World War II, Msgr. O'Flaherty toured many prisoner of war camps with the aim of finding soldiers who were reported missing. If he found missing soldiers at the camps, he would later reassure the concerned families through the use of Vatican Radio. (Read more.)