Skip to content

Heroes, Saints and the Righteous: the Case of Giovanni Palatucci

13Apr6:00 pm8:00 pmHeroes, Saints and the Righteous: the Case of Giovanni Palatucci6:00 pm - 8:00 pm(GMT+00:00) Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò, 24 West 12 Street, New York, NY 10011MemoriaMemoria

Event Details

Welcome: Stefano Albertini (Director of Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò)

Natalia Indrimi (Centro Primo Levi)

Opening Remarks: Consul General of Italy, Hon. Natalia Quintavalle


Marco Coslovich (Historian and author of “Giovanni Palatucci: A Righteous Memory”) and Mordecai Paldiel (former Director of the Institute for the Righteous Gentiles at Yad Vashem and professor of History of the Shoah at Stern College) will present their findings and engage in a conversation moderated by Alessandro Cassin (Centro Primo Levi).

Of 498 Italians named Righteous Among Nations by Yad Vashem, none has been the object of such national and international interest as Giovanni Palatucci. A police officer in Fiume between 1937 and 1945, he was arrested by the Nazis and deported to Dachau where he died. Since 1953, the city of Ramat Gan in Israel, followed by the Catholic Church, the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities, the Italian Police, and the ADL, have identified Palatucci as an alleged savior of thousands of Jews. In 1990 Yad Vashem conferred him the title of Righteous Among Nations, which sparked the making of a popular hero as well as his beatification process.

Who was Giovanni Palatucci? What documents are available to historians to reconstruct his life? Is there a scholarly field devoted to the study of rescue? What are the criteria that determine the category of  “Righteous Gentile”? What are the documents and historical facts that led to the recognition of Giovanni Palatucci? How, if at all, does the Jewish notion of Hasidei Umoth Ha’olam (Just Among the Nations of the World, i.e. followers of the laws of Noah) intersect with that of Hero and Saint?

Mordecai Paldiel, former director of the Institute of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem and professor of history of the Shoah at Stern College, and historian Marco Coslovich, whose research focuses on the memory of the deportation and the concentration camp of Dachau, will discuss these questions and what we know of Giovanni Palatucci’s life.


Dr. Mordecai Paldiel, the former Director of the Institute of the Righteous at Yad Vashem, teaches History of the Shoah at Stern College and History of the 20th Century at Touro College. Dr. Paldiel, a leading authority on rescue during the Holocaust, has written several books including The Path of the Righteous: Gentile Rescuers of Jews during the HolocaustWhosoever Saves One Life: The Uniqueness of the Righteous Among the Nations and Sheltering the Jews: Stories of Holocaust Rescuers and German Rescuers of Jews – Individuals versus the System.

In 1991, Dr. Paldiel was the Ida E. King Distinguished Visiting Scholar of Holocaust Studies at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. He received a B.A. from Hebrew University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Religion and Holocaust Studies from Temple University.

Dr. Marco Coslovich is an historian and educator based in Trieste. He is an expert in the memory of the deportation and on the concentration camp of Dachau. He has published books on the Nazi extermination camps, totalitarianism, and the Fascist persecutions of the Jews. He is president of the organization “Historical Perspectives” and director of the oral history project “The Last Roll Call”, which collects video interviews with survivors of the Fascist, Nazi, and Communist regimes. Among his best known books are: Gli anni negati, F.K.L. – on the experience of deportation from a woman’s perspective, Nemici per la pelle, on divided historical memories, Come amare le viole del pensiero?, Dio non c’era a Ravensbruk – the diary of Nora Pincherle. In 2008 Coslovich published Giovanni Palatucci: a Fair Memory, the result of 15 years of research on Giovanni Palatucci. The book examines and reframes Palatucci’s case within the historical context of his time, and discusses the phenomenon of scholarship politicization in this field. Marco Coslovich took part in an RAI television special on Giovanni Palatucci and co-produced, with Ennio Guerrato, the documentary Il tramonto di Spartaco on the concentration systems in Nazi Germany and Communist Yugoslavia.

Get Directions

Back To Top