The Anti-Defamation League said Thursday it will not name an award after Giovanni Palatucci, an Italian police official who had hitherto been credited for saving thousands of Jews during World War II. The New York Times has cited evidence that Palatucci was a Nazi collaborator involved in the deportations to Auschwitz.
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“We know now what we did not know then, which is that Giovanni Palatucci was not the rescuer he was made out to be,” the ADL's national director, Abraham H. Foxman, said in a statement. “We thank the historians for their efforts to bring the truth to light, and as a result of their research we have decided to disassociate our law enforcement award from his name.”
Palatucci was long credited with saving thousands of Jews during the Holocaust while he was police chief in Fiume, Italy, and has been recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations, ADL noted.
On Wednesday, The New York Times cited a letter sent this month to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington by the Centro Primo Levi at the Center for Jewish History in New York. According to The Times, the letter "stated that a research panel of more than a dozen scholars who reviewed nearly 700 documents concluded that for six years, Palatucci was 'a willing executor of the racial legislation and — after taking the oath to Mussolini’s Social Republic, collaborated with the Nazis.'”
Palatucci had been recognized with ADL’s Courage to Care Award in 2005 and, since 2007, the League had given the ADL Giovanni Palatucci Courageous Leadership Award to Italian and American law enforcement officials who helped battle extremism, bigotry and terrorism. Palatucci died in 1945.