In ‘My Italian Secret,’ a Champion Cyclist Saves Jews From Nazis

Mar 31, 2015 589

"My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes" compiles the stories of Jews who lived or sought refuge in Italy during World War II and the gentiles who helped them, particularly after German troops occupied the northern half of the country in 1943.

The movie periodically returns to the deeds of Gino Bartali (given a voice-over by the actor Robert Loggia), a Tour de France champion regarded as an inspiration by the Fascist government. As his son Andrea explains, Mr. Bartali also secretly helped to save lives by transporting fake identification papers in his bicycle frame.

The film includes other stories of heroism. We learn of a doctor who shielded Jews in a hospital ward by claiming they had a nonexistent illness, and of nuns and monks who provided protection.

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