Jew-saving priest 'blessed' for WW2 efforts

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Giuseppe Girotti died in Dachau concentration camp in 1945. Priest photo: Shutterstock
16:46 CEST+02:00
An Italian priest who died in a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War, after being condemned for helping Jews, is set to be beatified by the Vatican and could become a saint.

Giuseppe Girotti will be honored in a ceremony on Saturday in Alba, his birthplace in north-west Italy, Vatican Radio said

The title of ‘Blessed’ is the fourth of five-stage process to sainthood, which usually comes after the Catholic Church has evidence that the religious person has performed a miracle.

SEE ALSO: Becoming a saint in five not-so-easy steps

While details of Girotti’s miracle were not given by Vatican Radio, the priest is known for his efforts in helping the Jewish community when Italy was occupied by the Nazis during the Second World War.

In 1939 the priest was put under surveillance for his anti-fascist views, at odds with those of leader Benito Mussolini, Vatican Radio reported.

As the war progressed and the order came for all Jews to be arrested and imprisoned, Girotto upped his efforts to help Jewish people in north-west Italy.

According to the Israeli Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, which honored Girotto in 1995, the priest arranged false documents, safe hideouts and escape routes for Jews in Italy.

He was denounced and arrested in August 1944 after going to help transfer an injured Jewish partisan, Yad Vashem said.

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He was sent to the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, where he was registered as being arrested for “helping Jews”, Vatican Radio said. He died on April 1st 1945, at the age of 39, just weeks before Dachau was liberated.

SEE ALSO: Tour de France champ saved Jews in WWII

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