Pope recognizes Focherini as martyr

May 10, 2012 at 5:14 PM
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VATICAN CITY, May 10 (UPI) -- Odoardo Focherini, who saved about 100 Jews from the Holocaust and died in a Nazi concentration camp, was hailed as a martyr Thursday by Pope Benedict XVI.

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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