A terrific news story, but it actually took 70 years to be told:
Through the Patheos Catholic news section, and The Christophers, a Catholic media group, I read a fascinating article today about the heroic peacemaker Gino Bartali, an Italian Tour de France champion in the late 1930s and early 40s. Below is an article excerpt, but to read the entire story, GO HERE.
To read the long version, of course, you’re welcome to pick up the new book. Looks like a winning story, about a winning athlete, who had his heart in the right place and put his life on the line for his fellow man.
How can we lose, with that winning combo?
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A Sports Champion’s Secret Life, Saving Jews During the Italian Holocaust
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In Florence, Italy, July 1944, Tour de France champion Gino Bartali faced possible torture and death at the hands of the ironically-named Major Mario Carita. Though the military officer’s last name meant “charity,” his idol was a brutal killer: Heinrich Himmler, the Nazi leader in charge of Hitler’s Gestapo and SS.
Why was Bartali, a major Italian celebrity, being interrogated? As revealed in Aili and Andres McConnon’s Christopher Award-winning biography “Road to Valor,” the devoted Catholic led a secret life helping to save Jews from the Italian holocaust.
During an interview about the book on Christopher Closeup, Andres McConnon shared some of Bartali’s story.
Bullied as a child because he was small for his age, Gino identified with the underdog. He was first exposed to the growing evil of Fascism through his father, Torello, who was associated with an anti-Fascist labor movement that was trying to gain basic rights for workers who did backbreaking work for minimal pay. When one of that movement’s leaders was murdered by the Fascists, it was a sign that they wouldn’t tolerate opposition.
–end of excerpt– to finish article: Gino Bartali