Our Man in Italy ; November 2015
Our Man in Italy
Harry Shindler MBE
A Monument For A Brave Man
Following my article in the July magazine about Mons. Hugh O’Flaherty I promised to keep you informed of the progress in remembering this quiet spoken man in Rome.
Mons. Hugh O’Flaherty saved the lives of an estimated 6,500, the majority were Allied troops ‘on the run’.
He hid them in safe houses all over Tome, working under the nose of the German troops in occupation of the City, there were so many hiding in Rome at one stage that he issued orders to his helpers that as all safe houses were occupied they would need to find safe houses outside the City in the surrounding country.
Although recognised in his home Country Ireland, for his amazing work, and in October 2013 a statue was erected in his hometown on Killarney. However, there was nothing in Rome to recall what this brave man did.
I thought it only right, bearing in mind some members of the ISA would be among those saved by Mons. 0′ Flaherty, that I would ‘check out’ the possibility of erecting a Monument to him in Rome.
So I proposed a detailed Project Plan and sent it first to the Irish Embassy and the Irish Ambassador to the Holy See, from both came a reply welcoming the move. The same with our own, UK Ambassador to the Holy See.
Now the plan for the Monument to Mons. Hugh O’Flaherty is being finalised at the Vatican. In the project plan I set the Inauguration Date for 8 th May, the reason for this date?
This is the date of the end of the War and so a fitting date to remember a man who did so much to help those suffering because of the War.
A film has been made of his work and books have been written about this Scarlet Pimpernel, now we hope that the ISA will honour him with this Monument.
The Inauguration of the O’Flaherty Memorial with the Vatican City will take place on May 8th 2016 and I look forward to being present at the inauguration as the Representative of Italy Star Association in Italy and I am sure there will be representatives from our Embassy and from other Embassies.