Date: 2007-02-10

The Righteous Heroes of the Holocaust

“Persons Who Simply Followed a Call of Conscience”

ROME, FEB. 10, 2007 ( Here is the address given by Lisa Palmieri-Billig, liaison of the American-Jewish Committee to the Holy See, and Rome correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, on the occasion of the presentation of the Italian translation of Martin Gilbert’s book, “The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust.”

Gilbert’s book, originally published in English in 2002, has just been translated into Italian under the title: “I Giusti, gli eroi sconosciuti dell’Olocausto,” by the publishing house Città Nuova. The presentation took place Jan. 24.

* * *

When the black clouds of Nazism covered the skies of Europe and sank to earth as a poisonous fog that infiltrated the privacy of people’s lives in the form of near total physical and spiritual dominion, everywhere and despite everything — single stars of disobedience began to shine, of resistance to the mad orders aimed at exterminating the Jewish people.

These stars to which we pay tribute today, were individuals, persons who simply followed a call of conscience: Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Evangelical, Baptist, Lutheran Christians, but also Muslims, non believers and atheists. They came from all social levels and all nations. They were farmers, doctors, diplomats, princesses and kings. They were simple religious and papal nuncios. They came from the political left and the fight, even from the fascist right.