The Vatican Pimpernel: The World War II Exploits of the Monsignor Who Saved Over 6,500 Lives

The Vatican Pimpernel: The World War II Exploits of the Monsignor Who Saved Over 6,500 Lives

by Brian Fleming


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During the German occupation of Rome from 1942–1944, Irishman Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty ran an escape organization for Allied POWs and civilians, including Jews. Safe within the Vatican state, he regularly ventured out in disguise to continue his mission, which earned him the nickname “the Pimpernel of the Vatican.” When the Allies entered Rome, he and his collaborators— priests, nuns, and laypeople of numerous nationalities and religious beliefs—had saved the lives of over 6,500 people. 
The first new telling of this extraordinary story in decades, this book also addresses the fascinating dichotomy between O’Flaherty and Herbert Kappler, the Gestapo chief in Rome who ordered him killed, and who, after the war, reconciled with the monsignor, and even asked him to perform his baptism. 

For his heroic efforts, O’Flaherty was awarded the highest honors, including a Congressional Medal, and was the first Irishman named the Notary of the Holy Office. His story was immortalized in the 1983 film The Scarlet and the Black, which starred Gregory Peck as O’Flaherty.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616087029
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 10/01/2012
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 622,607
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Brian Fleming is a former member of the Oireachtas and has been a teacher for many years. He is currently principal of Collinstown
Park Community College. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements viii

Cast of Characters x

Map of the Vatican xii

Introduction 1

1 Rome 1941 3

2 A Young Priest in the Vatican 14

3 The Germans Take Charge 30

4 A Clerical Coalman 42

5 Sam Derry 59

6 More Volunteers 70

7 Christmas 1943 80

8 A Night at the Opera 94

9 Warning Shots 108

10 Chasing the Pimpernel 120

11 Oppression and Fear 136

12 The Liberation 152

13 Critics and Admirers 169

14 An Unsung Hero 183

References 197

Sources 205

Index 208

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The Vatican Pimpernel: The World War II Exploits of the Monsignor Who Saved Over 6,500 Lives 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Father O'Flaherty was an unusual Man! More what our Lord Jesus would do in his life time. Father O'Flaherty was a saint! I had a hard time putting the book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A story rarely discussed. I saw a statue of the Monsignor while visiting Killarney and wanted to know his story. He was an amazing man.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent and real portrayal of history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed this book about an Irish Priest assigned in Italy during World War II. His personal mission was to relieve the suffering of people no matter what their race or nationality was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quite a story about the courage of many brave men and women who helped anyone hiding from the German authorities to be housed in safe housewives& other locationsy. This especially recounted the unbelievable work by Monsignor O’Flaherty leading this effort
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! It's great to learn the "real" history of events that occurred when I was a kid instead of the pap being taught in our schools today.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I learned alot about the heroes in Italy especially Hugh O'Flaherty. Very glad to have read it. I've read a number of books about the French resistance, the Holocaust, and other WWII histories but this was the first about Italy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book.  I learned a lot about both the Catholic Church and the Irish people.  Reading real history, not fiction, is a pleasure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Real history told by those who lived it is always better than secpnd hand. A good tale of many very brave people. People can cooperate in important ways.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MartybMB More than 1 year ago
Could not put this book down. It is the story of and Irish priest assigned to the Vatican during World War II. He and his friends become involved in helping escaped allied troops. The book itself could have been more dramatic, if you read it as novel. But it is more of a documentary and most of or all of the quotes, etc are footnoted.
reader75LL More than 1 year ago
After  reading the forward, I knew that the book or story to be told was an actual accounting of historical incidents that saved the suffering POWS, mistreated Jews and Italians from the oppressive  Nazis and Fascists. This being said, It is amazing how the strengths of more or less one individual sought to right the wrongs inflicted by a society gone mad.  It developed into an interesting read and showed the magnitude of the strong personality that the priest had for getting the job done. I enjoyed the read.  
HarlieCA More than 1 year ago
This is not a novel as I thought, rather it is a detailed account of an Irish Monsenior assigned to the Vatican during WWll. It is heavily documented with lots of footnotes. It was very interesting, this priest saved the lives of 1,000's of POW escapees of all nationalities and also many persecuted Jews during the occupation of Italy by Hitler and friends. Most of the people were hidden within the Vatican City, which was a neutral country, until the war was over. Our hero, the priest, disguised himself to wonder about in Rome to help people, sometimes as a nun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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