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Holocaust Survivor Honors Bridgettine Nun Who Saved His Life and Dignity

Chiara Santomiero - Aleteia - published on 01/23/15 - updated on 06/08/17

It is not without significance that the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation counts among its first members the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis.

“Unfortunately, Raoul Wallenber was not only a hero, but also was himself a victim," added Jesus Colina, Vice President of the Foundation for Italy and General Manager of Aleteia. "On January 17th, we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the disappearance of Raoul Wallenberg, who was abducted by the Soviets forces stationed in Budapest. Since then his fate has remained a mystery. We are honored to promote the ‘Houses of Life’ project in Rome and in Italy, as we remember the extraordinary courage of so many Italians who, like the Casa Santa Brigida, helped victims of persecution.”

Today like yesterday

Casa Santa Brigida overlooks Piazza Farnese, and stands in silent conversation with the Renaissance Farnese Palace, home of the French Embassy in Italy since 1936. Several days ago many Romans gathered here to show their solidarity following the massacre at the headquarters of the satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” and kosher market in Paris.

At the awards ceremony, Piperno read the simple plaque designed by the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, which henceforth designates the Casa Santa Brigida as a “House of Life” and states: “At that time there was great solidarity among people. After Rome was liberated and we were able to return to life as usual, our women went back to shopping in the Campo dei Fiori marketplace. People greeted them and would say: ‘We knew that the nuns had hidden you’”.

They knew, but they did not turn them in, for in those days it was a difference between life and death. That is why there came a time when Piperno and his wife decided to change the order of their memories. “We would always talk about those who were gone, those who had not returned because of the people who had harmed us. Then we decided to change and to remember the good people, those who had helped us, those who risked their lives to save us”.

“Today like yesterday,” Piperno concluded, “we must rally around the good in order to prevent evil from overwhelming us.” And even a plaque can serve this purpose.

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation urges you to share reliable information on other “Houses of Life” either by e-mail (, by telephone or by contacting the various offices of the institution:

New York: 212-7373275
Jerusalem: + 972-2-6257996
Buenos Aires: + 54-11-43827872
For more information, write to:

  • 1
  • 2
VaticanWorld War II
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