My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes

By Gideon

While most European countries either cooperated or did nothing to stop the Nazis when their Jewish citizens were murdered, there were two countries that acted differently: 

Albania, which was the only European country that had more Jews at the end of the war than at the beginning of the war, and Italy,  which  80% of the Jewish people in its borders, including foreign Jews, were saved.

My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes is a documentary movie about the Italians who helped to save Jews. The movie is now available on Netflix.

On September 8, 1943 the Nazi’s invaded Northern Italy and the deportation of thousands of Jewish people and others to Auschwitz began. However, unlike what had happened in the rest of the Nazi occupied Europe, amazingly, approximately 80% of Jewish people living in Italy, including foreign Jews, survived the Holocaust.

My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes was written, produced and directed by Oscar nominee Oren Jacoby. It tells the story of brave Italians, including Gino Bartali – the famous cycling champion, who defied the Nazis and Fascists to hide, rescue and protect thousands of innocent Jewish people and others in Italy during the Holocaust.

The film personifies the actions of individual Italians — from everyday citizens to clergy and government officials who rescued thousands of Jews from deportation and death, hiding and protecting them, despite risks to their own lives and those of their families.  People like bicycling idol Gino Bartali, physician Giovanni Borromeo and other Italians worked with Jewish leaders and high-ranking officials of the Catholic Church, risking their lives by defying the Nazis to save thousands of Italy’s Jews.

The film tells its story by relating the accounts of Jewish survivors who returned to Italy in their late adulthood to revisit the scenes of their worst nightmares: hidden in terror, fleeing in desperation, separated from loved ones, saying final goodbyes without knowing they were final. It is narrated by Isabella Rossellini with Robert Loggia as the voice of Gino Bartali.

The Movie Trailer – The movie is now available on Netflix


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Gino Bartali – An Italian champion in more than one way

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