Vatican Unveils Plaque in Honor of Msgr. Hugh O’Flaherty

Vatican Unveils Plaque in Honor of Msgr. Hugh O’Flaherty May 16, 2016

He was the Irish priest who saved 6500 lives, most of them Jewish, from the Nazis.  A clever man with a knack for cloak and dagger disguises, he earned the nickname “Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican”.

His arch-enemy, Herbert Kappler, was a member of the SS and Chief of Police in Rome.  He tried and failed to capture O’Flaherty and was, at war’s end, arrested and jailed for war crimes.  Jailed, one of his only visitors was O’Flaherty.  He eventually became a Catholic.

There’s a pretty good film about O’Flaherty starring Gregory Peck called The Scarlet and the Black.

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  • Suburbanbanshee

    He was pretty cool; but knowing what we know now, he was also “That Resistance guy whose cell can’t be allowed to know what’s going on in the rest of the Resistance, because he’s too flashy and likes to taunt the Germans.” So he was always complaining after the war about how nobody else Catholic was doing anything for the Jews or the Allied soldiers, and the pope was such a do-nothing — when actually the entire town of Rome and the Italian countryside were apparently crawling with Catholics and clergy doing stuff, and the Pope was busy running a huge rescue organization. (Although it is pretty funny that the isolated cell also became a semi-huge organization.)

    So yeah, he was That Guy, although apparently he was better at survival skills and planning than everybody else thought.

    • Barbara Bowman

      What is your source of that information? I remember the monsignor been mentioned quite extensively in “The Pope’s Jews.”