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Press Release

In Light of Historical Evidence, ADL Will No Longer Honor Memory of Italian Police Official Palatucci

New York, NY, June 20, 2013 … In view of new historical evidence that has come to light documenting that an Italian police official, Giovanni Palatucci, did not play a role in rescuing Jews during the Holocaust as was widely believed and may have in fact been a Nazi collaborator, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) will no longer present law enforcement officials with an award named for him.

“We know now what we did not know then, which is that Giovanni Palatucci was not the rescuer he was made out to be,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor.  “We thank the historians for their efforts to bring the truth to light, and as a result of their research we have decided to disassociate our law enforcement award from his name.”

Palatucci was long credited with saving thousands of Jews during the Holocaust while he was police chief in Fiume, Italy, and has been recognized by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations.  But a panel of historians and scholars, after examining hundreds of documents, has recently concluded that Palatucci was “a willing executioner of the racial legislation” and may have even collaborated with the Mussolini government in helping to identify Jews for deportation.

Palatucci was recognized with ADL’s Courage to Care Award in 2005 and, since 2007, the League has bestowed the ADL Giovanni Palatucci Courageous Leadership Award in honor of Italian and American law enforcement officials who have exemplified leadership in the fight against extremism, bigotry and terrorism. 

Palatucci’s name will be removed from both of the awards, but the recognition of the law enforcement officers for exemplary leadership will continue. The award will be designated with another name.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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