The recognition by the Pope precedes the honorific of beatification, a step away from Catholic sainthood.
Focherini (1907-1944), from the town of Carpi, near Modena, Italy, was a Catholic activist and newspaper editor who saved Jewish emigres during World War II by providing them with false identity cards and passage to neutral Switzerland. He and a parish priest, Father Dante Sala, helped about 100 to escape, the Italian news agency ANSA said Thursday.
Focherini was arrested in March 1944, taken to a prison in Bologna, and eventually to a concentration camp in Hersbrueck, Germany, where he died in December 1944, the news agency said.
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