Israelis Honor Religious for Helping Jews During Holocaust

Brother Stablum Saved 51 From the Nazis

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ROME, NOV. 27, 2001 (Zenit.org).- A religious was posthumously awarded the people of Israel´s highest recognition who having helped save Jews during the Holocaust.



Brother Emanuele Stablum (1895-1950) of the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Conception was awarded the "Righteous Among the Nations" medal last week.

During World War II, Brother Stablum saved 51 Jews from Nazi violence in Rome, by hiding them, with the help of his brothers in religion, in the corridors of hospitals run by his religious congregation.

To avoid German suspicion, the refugees were registered in the hospital as patients with skin diseases. The hospital was, and continues to be, the most prestigious dermatology center in Rome.

On more than one occasion, the religious applied creams to the Jews, so that the Nazis would think they were genuine patients.

The ceremony to confer the medal was held in the very same hospital, known as the Dermatological Institute of the Immaculate in Rome.

Father Giovanni Cazzaniga, postulator general of the cause of beatification of the congregation´s religious, and firsthand witness of the heroic work of Brother Stablum, revealed: "Despite the fact that everything was complicated at that time, Emanuele Stablum did not hesitate in face of the dramatic emergency, and opened the hospital´s doors to anyone who knocked."

According to Father Cazzaniga, the doctor and religious not only saved persecuted Jews, but also politicians sought by the police. Brother Stablum made no distinctions of "faith, age, social condition, and asked for nothing in return."

The historian said that Brother Stablum "welcomed the Vatican´s appeal to help the Jews." Although strengthened and supported by his religious community, "in the end the decision was his to accept the marginalized and desperate Jews."

"He made the decision, conscious of the fact that he risked his life; what is more, from that moment he tied his life to the life of those he helped. Had the Nazis discovered him, he would have been sent to a death camp in Germany," Father Cazzaniga affirmed.

Stablum "also opened the chapel to Jewish refugees," the priest explained. The religious invoked God the Father, as Jesus revealed, while the Jews, "as elder brothers, prayed to the God of the Old Covenant, present in the Psalms," he said.

Tibor Schlosser, adviser of the Israeli Embassy in Italy, explained that one of the principal tasks of the Yad Vashem Institute, which confers the recognition of the Jewish people, is not to forget anyone who helped the Jews during the war.

"Every one of the hundreds of thousands of Jewish survivors has an ´angel´ like Brother Stablum," he said.