B’nai B’rith World Centre honours 98-yr-old Italian

January 26, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
Read on for article

B’nai B’rith World Centre, Jerusalem and the Committee to Recognise the Heroism of Jews who Rescued Fellow Jews During the Holocaust conferred this week a Jewish Rescuers Citation upon 98-yr-old Enzo Cavaglion for saving the lives of hundreds Jewish refugees in northern Italy during the German occupation. 

Enzo Cavaglion (seated). Right to left: Alan Schneider, Director, B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem; Paolo Eliezer Foa, President, B’nai B’rith Milan Lodge; Dario Disegni, President, Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah; Enzo’s son Dr. Alberto Cavaglion and his granddaughter Sara Cavaglion
Photo: Sergio Cravero – Italy

Enzo, who was moved to tears, said he is proud and excited to receive the Jewish rescuers citation.

Enzo Cavaglion was one of the 14 founding members of the partisan group “Italia Libera” (Free Italy), established on Sept. 12, 1943 — the same day that Cuneo, Italy was occupied by the German First SS Panzer Division. They ensconced themselves in the sanctuary of the Madonna del Colletto, 18 kilometers to the west of Cuneo, about halfway up the steep ridge separating the valley of the Gesso from the valley of the Stura to the north. Enzo and his younger brother, Riccardo Cavaglion, stayed with the group until October 1943, when they had to leave to help their own families escape arrest in Cuneo.

In addition to the combat they waged against the Germans and Italian Fascists, Enzo and Riccardo also helped Jews who sought refuge in villages around Cuneo. More than 1,000 Jews living in the remote Italian-occupied French Alpine village of Saint-Martin-Vesubie fled in the face of the German army that invaded the area following the announcement on Sept. 8 of the armistice signed between Italy and the Allies.

Men, women, children, the elderly and disabled scaled the Maritime Alps over the international border into Italy in a harrowing ordeal, only to find the Germans already roaming the area. About 300 people were captured and sent to Auschwitz. The remaining 700 found refuge among the welcoming local peasant population. Enzo and Riccardo found hiding places for them, furnished them with the necessary documents and hid them in the mountains in order to evade the Nazis. Survivor Harry Burger credited Enzo and Riccardo with saving his life and his mother’s life by warning them that the Nazis were hunting for them. Enzo performed all of these activities despite the additional danger he faced as a result.

Since its establishment in 2011, the Jewish Rescuers Citation has been presented in an effort to correct the public misconception that Jews did not rescue fellow Jews during the Holocaust. To date nearly 200 heroes have been honored for rescue activities in Germany, France, Hungary, Greece, Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Russia, Lithuania, Poland, Holland and now Italy.

Enzo Cavaglion (seated). Right to left: Alan Schneider, Director, B’nai B’rith World Center-Jerusalem; Paolo Eliezer Foa, President, B’nai B’rith Milan Lodge; Dario Disegni, President, Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah; Enzo’s son Dr. Alberto Cavaglion and his granddaughter Sara Cavaglion.

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

    Rules on posting comments