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MY ITALIAN SECRET / The Forgotten Heroes

Would you risk your life to save a stranger? And never talk about it?  MY ITALIAN SECRET tells the story of sports idol Gino Bartali and other Italians who saved Jews and refugees fleeing the Nazis in WWII.  Bartali, the Tour de France cycling champion, made hundreds of trips transporting fake documents in the frame of his bicycle for a secret underground organized by the Cardinal and the Rabbi of Florence. The living characters in the film return to Italy to reveal the story and thank those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save a stranger’s life.

Gino Bartali is a sports legend; but his most daring triumph came when he risked his life over and over to save Jews threatened by Nazi extermination. The story of Bartali and the secret network he worked with stands in for the stories of thousands of Italians who risked their lives to save others from capture and death. As an entire continent was engulfed in a genocide which took the lives of most Jews in Nazi occupied Europe (nearly 6 million people), more than 80 percent of Italy’s Jews survived.

Bartali, like most of the rescuers, never sought recognition or reward. Few of those he helped knew his name or what role he played in their rescue.

Gino Bartali was honored this year by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations, seventy years after his courageous activities and thirteen years after his death. The cycling champion was praised for his role in a rescue network, spearheaded by the Rabbi and Archbishop of Florence following the German occupation of Italy, that saved hundreds of local Jews and Jewish refugees.

a Storyville Films production
in association with
Italy and the Holocaust Inc.