By Sean Ryan - 22 November, 2015
The memory of an iconic Irish monsignor who saved the lives of thousands of Jews and Allied soldiers during World War II is to be honoured with a special memorial in the Teutonic College close to Vatican City next year.
Plans are well advanced on the memorial to Mgr Hugh O’Flaherty which is due to be unveiled next 8 May 2016 to mark the 71st anniversary of the end of the war in Italy.
During World War II, the Irish priest was responsible for saving 6,500 Allied soldiers and Jews.
His ability to evade the traps set by the German Gestapo and Sicherheitsdienst earned O’Flaherty the nickname ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican’.
He was the first Irishman named a Notary of the Holy Office.
Mgr O’Flaherty was born in Co Cork but was reared in Killarney, Co Kerry. He lived in the Teutonic College close to Vatican City from 1938 to 1960.
It was from his apartment within the German College that he operated the Rome Escape Line organisation, helping to secure the safe passage of so many people during World War II.
For the past eight years, a special Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty weekend has been held in Killarney and this year’s award named in the priest’s honour was presented to missionary priest, Fr Sean Myers.
Discussions have taken place over the past couple of months between members of the Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Society and the confraternity of the Teutonic College to organise the commemorative monument.
To coincide with this planned unveiling, an O’Flaherty Rome Tour is being organised from 5-9 May. It will include visits to all the important O’Flaherty related sites as well as other major Roman historic locations.