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Last Updated: Monday, 4 April, 2005, 19:27 GMT 20:27 UK
Nun who saved Jews given honour
Sister Anthony
Sister Anthony was nominated for the honour by those she saved
A nun from Lancashire who hid Jewish families from the Nazis has been posthumously honoured by Israel.

Maria Antoniazzi, who was known as Sister Anthony, hid Jews in her convent school in Rome and secured false papers for them so they could travel safely.

She died in 1990 and never spoke about her bravery, but was nominated by those she saved to become one of Israel's Righteous Amongst the Nations.

The honour was collected by her family in Rome on Monday.

There were plenty of ways of getting people into the property and plenty of ways of hiding them
Sister Mary Hilda, friend of Sister Anthony

"She spoke about seeing the American forces march into the city after the liberation of Rome but of these episodes I heard nothing," said Rt Revd Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool.

"Then suddenly I began to hear that while she was in retirement Jewish families came to see her and then I began to realise what an amazing story it was."

Sister Anthony - described as a "no nonsense Lancashire woman" by her niece, Margaret Lewis - is believed to have been a key member of the network of safe houses set up by Monsignor O'Flaherty during the war to hide refugees.

His story was made into a movie called The Scarlet and the Black.

Big property

She had gone to Rome to set up a school, in defiance of her Italian father who ran a cafe in Morecambe.

"The school was a big property with three or four different entrances," her friend, Sister Mary Hilda, said.

"At the back of the school was a big garden and a big house that we called the villa and there were plenty of ways of getting people into the property and plenty of ways of hiding them."

Sister Anthony is said to have hid Jewish refugees in various parts of the house, including under the altar.


SEE ALSO:
Holocaust Museum's 'journey to light'
15 Mar 05 |  Middle East
Have we learnt Auschwitz lessons?
02 Feb 05 |  Have Your Say
Pupils study tragedy of Holocaust
15 Jan 05 |  Merseyside


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