Father Giulio Gradassi

Dr. Rubin Pick together with his wife and daughter escaped from Poland and took refuge in Trieste until September 1943. When the German occupation affected this area they decided to move south into the liberated part of Italy, but on their way they were forced to stop in Florence as their journey was becoming increasingly risky.

They managed to find refuge at the Church of Santa Felicia, but as the Gestapo began searching around the city the local priest who was sheltering them became uneasy. A fellow priest, Don Giulio Gradassi, feeling compassion not only for the Jewish family but for his fearful colleague, decided to take responsibility for the refugees and took the Picks with him to his town of Castelione. He hosted Dr. Rubin in his own church and with the assistance of some nuns of a nearby convent, managed to hide Mrs. Pick and her daughter.

When a German raid surprised the relative tranquillity of the convent in December 1943 and Mrs. Pick and daughter were forced to find another refuge, Father Giulio – despite the freezing winter rain and the bronchitis that seriously affected him- cycled for miles on his bike in search of another safe haven. Despite a high temperature and the parlous state of his health, he succeeded and the women were taken to safety with a nearby family.

A month later, again he biked through the countryside for hours when the hosts were no longer willing to risk their lives for the Jewish family. Eventually Father Giulio found a permanent refuge for the Picks until the Liberation, and their lives were spared together with the many other refuges he had helped save.

Bibliography

  • Paldiel, Mordecai. The Path of the Righteous. Hoboken: KTAV Publishing House. 1993.