May 29, 2015

April 2015

A new House of Life is awarded in Rome, Villa Mondragone

On 15 April 2015, the Villa Mondragone has been recognized as “House of Life” for hiding several Jews during the Nazi occupation of Italy. 

The Villa is located at Tor Vergata University of Rome, an academic institution with over 30,000 students. The feat was accomplished thanks to the heroism of the Jesuit priest of Maronite origin, Raffaele de Ghantuz Cubbe, who was also awarded as Righteous among the Nations. He sheltered Graziano Sonnino and his late brother Mario, and Marco Pavoncello. During the ceremony both Graziano and Marco remembered with affection Father Raffaele, who always respected their Jewish identity.

The ceremony was also attended by two nephews of the priest, Francesco and Riccardo de Ghantuz Cubbe, leadership of Tor Vergata University and other prominent members of the Catholic and Jewish community of Rome. Riccardo Pacifici, President of the Jewish Community of Rome, praised the mission and work of the Wallenberg Foundation and assured collaboration for individualizing more “Houses of Life” that remain to be discovered.

To read more click here


Saviors on the screen 2015

Saviors on the Screen, presented by JCC Manhattan and the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation took place on April 16.

The program is organized every year to commemorate Yom Ha Shoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. The special Films Series is dedicated to the rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust and is presented by the IRWF in partnership with the JCC Manhattan.

Several documentaries were screened and among them this year the film IDA, winner of the 2015 Foreign Language Academy Award.

To read more click here


Istituto San Giuseppe in Rome was awarded the title of House of Life

The House located in Via Casaletto 260, Rome was back then a religious school where two nuns sheltered a group of around fifty people. 

During the Nazi occupation of Rome, between September 1943 and April 1944, the nuns of Istituto San Giuseppe gave shelter to more than 30 Jewish boys and girls as well as many of their mothers in their school and home. The children were sent to class every morning while their mothers were disguised as Catholic nuns, if required, and helped in the convent/school.  One of the nuns, Suor Emerenziana, is 93 years old today and she gave her testimony of how life was during those days and how they managed the situation, especially when the German soldiers were around and came to the school to use the kitchen to warm their food.

The ceremony, organized by the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, culminated with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque, on the outside wall of the school, declaring it “House of Life”. Sor Emerenziana, the only religious who survived and has been recognized as “Righteous among the Nations” by Yad Vashem, attended the ceremony.

To watch the interview with Suor Emerenziana and read more click here and here


“Houses of Life” Ongoing Program

“Houses of Life” is a unique educational program aiming to identify, pay tribute and spread the actions of solidarity of institutions or individuals that extended a hand to the persecuted by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

The purpose of “Houses of Life” program is to identify and honor those public places such as convents, monasteries, churches, schools, and privately owned homes, where Jews were sheltered and given food and medicines.

“Seventy years after the end of the Second World War this educational proposal has an impact as it acknowledges and awards those who were on the front line and risked everything to help their fellow man” stated Mr. Eduardo Eurnekian, president of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation.

The program is taking place throughout Europe with the cooperation of Aleteia, the Catholic news agency, with direct involvement of its Editorial Director, Mr. Jesús Colina and Institutional Relations Manager, Ms. Silvia Costantini,