In The News

Memorial is unveiled to hero priest

Memorial is unveiled to hero priest

A MEMORIAL has been unveiled to an Irish priest who helped save thousands of lives during the Second World War.

Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty ran an escape network from within the Vatican which is credited with preventing more than 6,500 people, including Jews and escaped Allied soldiers, from falling into the hands of the Nazis.

A statue of Monsignor O’Flaherty will now be unveiled in his home town of Killarney where a week of events in his memory is now held every year. The ceremony will mark the 50th. anniversary of the priest’s death.

Known as the Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican, the priest risked his life many times while operating the escape line. The SS commander in Rome, Herbert Kappler, continually tried to smash the network and even tried to assassinate the Monsignor.

The TV movie The Scarlet and The Black (see below), which was released in 1983, was based on the priest’s exploits with Gregory Peck playing the Monsignor.

After the war, Monsignor O’Flaherty was honoured by a number of countries, including Britain, the U.S. and France.

The Monsignor passed away in County Kerry in 1963 and is buried in Cahersiveen. The statue, which will be unveiled, is the work of English artist Alan Ryan Hall. Relatives of Monsignor O’Flaherty were among those who attended the unveiling.

To view an excerpt from The Scarlet and The Black, click here.

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