The Hero Gino Bartali

Gino Bartali won the Giro d’Italia 3 times, in 1936,1937 and 1946. He also won de Tour de France twice, the first time in 1938 and again in 1948. This alone would make him a sporting hero. Especially his 2nd Giro d’Italia win, when his younger brother, Giulio, died in a racing accident on 14 June.1936 Gino came close to giving up cycling.

I could fill the blog will all his efforts as a cyclist, but he also a Hero for a completely different reason. In facts with these heroic acts he risked his life every time.

Gino Bartali was born on July 18, 1914, in Ponte a Ema, a small village south of Florence, Italy. His father, Torello, was a day laborer. His mother helped support the family by working in the fields and embroidering lace. Gino had two older sisters, Anita and Natalina, and a younger brother, Giulio, who shared his passion for cycling and racing. Gino began to work at a young age, laboring on a farm and helping his mother with embroidery work.

Bartali was a devout Catholic. The summer of 1943 was a turning point for Italy. Mussolini was overthrown in July. In September, the new government signed an armistice with the Allies. Germany invaded the northern regions of the country, including Tuscany. With the German occupation, conditions for the Jewish population grew much worse.

Also in September 1943, Italian Cardinal Elia Dalla Costa asked to meet Bartali. Dalla Costa had been secretly aiding thousands of Jews seeking refuge from other European countries. The fugitives needed falsified identity cards. Dalla Costa shared his plan with Bartali. Under the cover of his long training rides, Bartali could carry counterfeit documents and photos in the hollow frame of his bike. The plan was a nearly perfect one as Bartali knew those roads well and his need to train provided an ideal alibi.

Under the pretense of training, Bartali would set off from his hometown of Florence with life-saving, counterfeit documents hidden away in his handlebars.

These fake identity documents would be used to help Jews escape across the border, or at least help hide their Jewish ethnicity if they were ever stopped and questioned. He would often ride as far as Assisi (over 100 miles one way), where many Jews were being hidden in Franciscan convents.

By taking on this role, he put himself at huge risk. At one point he was arrested and questioned by the head of the Fascist secret police in Florence, where he lived.

The Goldenberg family had met Gino Bartali in 1941 in Fiesole. Shlomo Goldenberg-Paz, who was 9 years old at the time, told Yad Vashem that he remembered a meeting with Bartali and his relative Armando Sizzi, who was a close family friend. The two sat with Shlomo’s father and had “a discussion of adults”. He remembered the event well because the renowned cyclist had given him a bicycle and a photo with a dedication, which Goldbenberg-Paz has always kept. In 1941 the conversation with Bartali could not have dealt with illegal papers, but meeting his childhood hero became engraved in Goldenberg’s memory.

When later on, following the German occupation in 1943, the Goldenbergs went into hiding, Shlomo was first sent to a convent, but then joined his parents who were hiding in an apartment in Florence belonging to Bartali. Gino Bartali helped and supported them. Goldenberg’s cousin, Aurelio Klein also fled to Florence because he had heard that one could obtain forged papers. He stayed in the apartment with the Goldenberg family for a short while, and then fled to Switzerland with the help of forged documents. Klein told Yad Vashem that Shlomo Goldenberg’s mother had received forged papers from Bartali, and that she was the only one in the family who dared set foot outside the apartment and go shopping.

For many years after the war, Bartali did not speak about his role in saving hundreds of people, sharing just a few details with his son Andrea. It was only after his death in 2000, that Bartali’s rescue activities came to light. In 2013, Yad Vashem recognized Gino Bartali with the honor of Righteous Among the Nations.

On July 7, 2013 Yad Vashem recognized Gino Bartali as Righteous Among the Nations.

He had everything to lose. His story is one of the most dramatic examples during World War Two of an Italian willing to risk his own life to save the lives of strangers. We can do with a few heroes like Gino nowadays.

sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/gino-bartali

https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27333310

https://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/exhibitions/righteous-sportsmen/bartali.asp

https://www.bicycling.com/news/a27483888/cycling-school-gino-bartali/

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

$2.00

The small sporting giant.

3733362900000578-3739316-image-a-25_1471122096732

The Netherlands although densely populated it is one of the smallest countries on earth. Currently the population is close to 17 Millions. Although it is a small nation when it comes to sports it has punched way above its weight for decades.

Leaving aside the recent disappointing performances by the national football team, tean Netherlands managed to have finalists in most of the major sporting events. Below are just some examples.

Fifa world cup finals 1974 against Germany;1978 against Argentina and 2010 against Spain.. Although the Dutch never won the world cup, 3 times they got to the finals. Several other times they ended in the semi finals in in 2014 they came 3rd.

UEFA European cup 1988. In 1988 they beat the Soviet Union in the European Cup finals.

36700CB400000578-0-image-a-2_1469018740504

Wimbledon, the most prestigious Tennis tournament and most coveted tournament to for players, had a Dutch winner in 1996. Richard Krajicek beat Malivai Washington. Even a female streaker did not deter him from winning the price.

2716-2013_06_07_krajicek_richard_wimbledonsieg_1996_jhasenkopf

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship

Tour de France, although with all the scandals the shine has gone of it a bit, it is still considered THE cycling event. In 1968 Jan Janssen won the tour,This was repeated in 1980 by Joop Zoetemelk.

In  May 2017 a cyclist from Maastricht won the Giro D’Italia another great cycling event.On the 27th of May 2017, Tom DuMoulin managed to keep on to the pink jersey, making him the winners of Giro 2017.

tom-dumoulin-2017-giro-14

During the 26 summer Olympic games the Dutch have anticipated in they have won 285 medals. 85 Gold, 92 Silver and 108 Bronze.However it is during the Winter games where the Dutch show what they are made of, In the 46 games they partook in they managed to accumulate 395 medals 122 Gold, 130 Silver and 143 Bronze.

Not bad for a small nation, not bad at all.

Two forgotten Heroes

 

The article is about 2 men with no connection whatsoever, well nearly. The only connection is that they both saved Jews during WWII in different ways but both defied the Nazi regime at risk of losing their own lives.

Gino Bartali

Gino-Bartali

Gino Bartali (18 July 1914 – 5 May 2000), nicknamed Gino the Pious and , was a champion road cyclist. He was the most renowned Italian cyclist before the Second World War, having won the Giro d’Italia twice (1936, 1937) and the Tour de France in 1938. After the war he added two other victories in both events: the Giro d’Italia in 1946 and the Tour de France in 1948. His second and last Tour de France victory in 1948 gave him the largest gap between victories in the race.

In September 2013, 13 years after his death, Bartali was recognised as a “Righteous Among the Nations” by Yad Vashem for his efforts to aid Jews during World War II.

He had everything to lose. His story is one of the most dramatic examples during World War Two of an Italian willing to risk his own life to save the lives of strangers

Bartali, a villager from a poor Tuscan family, was reaching the peak of his career as the war approached.He won his first Giro d’Italia in 1936, retaining the title in 1937. Then – to Italy’s delight – he won the 1938 Tour de France. It was a moment the country’s fascist leader, Benito Mussolini, had been looking forward to eagerly.

il-duce

Mussolini believed that if an Italian rider triumphed in the Tour it would show that Italians too belonged to the master race.

Bartali earned respect for his work in helping Jews who were being persecuted by the Nazis during the time of the Italian Social Republic. It emerged in December 2010 that Bartali had hidden a Jewish family in his cellar and, according to one of the survivors, by doing so saved their lives.Bartali hid his Jewish friend Giacomo Goldenberg, and Goldenberg’s family.”He hid us in spite of knowing that the Germans were killing everybody who was hiding Jews,” Goldenberg’s son said in an interview with Oren Jacoby,who made a documentary om Bartali.

Bartali used his fame to carry messages and documents to the Italian Resistance.Bartali cycled from Florence through Tuscany, Umbria, and Marche, sometimes traveling as far afield as Rome, all the while wearing the racing jersey emblazoned with his name. Neither the Fascist police nor the German troops risked discontent by arresting him.

Giorgio Nissim, a Jewish accountant from Pisa,was a member of DELASEM,founded by the Union of the Israelitic Communities to help Jewish Italians escape persecution. The network in Tuscany was discovered in autumn 1943 and all members except Nissim sent to concentration camps. He met Pope Pius XII and, with the help of the Archbishop of Genoa, the Franciscan Friars and others he reorganized DELASEM and helped 800 escape.

Nissim died in 2000. His sons found from his diaries that Bartali had used his fame to help. Nissim and the Oblati Friars of Lucca forged documents and needed photographs of those they were helping. Bartali used to leave Florence in the morning, pretending to train, rode to a convent in which the Jews were hiding, collected their photographs and rode back to Nissim. Bartali used his position to learn about raids on safehouses.

Bartali was eventually taken to Villa Triste in Florence. The SD and the Italian RSS office, Mario Carità questioned Bartali, threatening his life Bartali simply answered “I do what I feel “.

Bartali continued with the Assisi Underground. In 1943, he led Jewish refugees towards the Swiss Alps himself. He cycled pulling a wagon with a secret compartment, telling patrols it was just part of his training. Bartali told his son Andrea only that “One does these things and then that’s that”

In 2013 Yad Vashem recognized Gino Bartali the title of Righteous Among the Nations.He is a central figure in the 2014 documentary My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes.

My_Italian_Secret_cover

 

 

Sgt.Roddie Edmonds

CVPLK5GUwAAuVCF

Edmonds was captured by Nazi forces on 19 December 1944. As the senior noncommissioned officer (Master Sergeant), Edmonds was responsible for the camp’s 1,275 American POWs.

The camp commandant ordered Edmonds to tell only the Jewish-American soldiers to present themselves at the next morning’s assembly so they could be separated from the other prisoners. Instead, Edmonds ordered all 1,275 to assemble outside their barracks. The German commandant rushed up to Edmonds in a fury, placed his pistol against Edmonds’ head and demanded that he identify the Jewish soldiers under his command. Instead, Edmonds responded “We are all Jews here,”and threatened to have the commandant investigated and prosecuted for war crimes after the conflict ended, should any of Edmonds’ men be harmed.

He would not waver, even with a pistol to his head, and his captors eventually backed down. Edmonds’ actions are credited with saving up to 200 Jewish-American soldiers from nearly certain death.

Edmonds was captured with thousands of others in the Battle of the Bulge in late 1944 and survived 100 days of captivity, returned home after the war, but never told his family of his actions.

His wife gave his son, Baptist Rev. Chris Edmonds a couple of the diaries his father had kept while in the POW camp. Rev. Edmonds began researching his story, locating several of the Jewish soldiers his father saved, who provided witness statements to Yad Vashem.

160126-master-sgt-roddie-edmonds-wwii-pow-jsw-1008a_19aa422b30b522a16368365f35502c10.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000

Seventy years later, the Knoxville, Tennessee, native was being posthumously recognized with Israel’s highest honour for non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during World War II. He’s the first American serviceman to earn the honor.

His son vaguely knew about his father’s past from the diaries Edmonds kept in captivity that included the names and addresses of his men and some of his daily thoughts.

But it was only while scouring the Internet a few years ago that he began to unravel the true drama that had unfolded — oddly enough, when he read a newspaper article about Richard Nixon’s post-presidency search for a New York home. As it happened, Nixon purchased his exclusive upper East Side town house from Lester Tanner, a prominent New York lawyer who mentioned in passing how Edmonds had saved him and dozens of other Jews during the war.

That sparked a search for Tanner, who along with another Jewish POW, Paul Stern, told the younger Edmonds what they witnessed on 27 January, 1945, at the Stalag IXA POW camp near Ziegenhain, Germany.

 

The Wehrmacht had a strict anti-Jew policy and segregated Jewish POWs from non-Jews. On the eastern front, captured Jewish soldiers in the Russian army had been sent to extermination camps.

At the time of Edmonds’ capture, the most infamous Nazi death camps were no longer fully operational, so Jewish American POWs were instead sent to slave labour camps where their chances of survival were low. US soldiers had been warned that Jewish fighters among them would be in danger if captured and were told to destroy dog tags or any other evidence identifying them as Jewish.

So when the German camp commander, speaking in English, ordered the Jews to identify themselves, Edmonds knew what was at stake.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

$2.00