Google Celebrates Italian Cyclist Recognized by Yad Vashem Who Hid Jewish Family During World War II
Google honored this week an acclaimed Italian cyclist who helped Jews in the 1930s and 1940s on what would have been his 104th birthday.
On Tuesday, the search engine showed in some countries a Google Doodle for Gino Bartali. Google Doodles are illustrations that appear in the Google logo on its homepage.
Bartali, a two-time Tour de France and three-time Giro d’Italia winner, became a courier for Jews in the 1930s and 1940s when they were being discriminated against, according to the Daily Mail. The Florence-born cyclist concealed notes, photographs, counterfeit identity documents and other items in the frame and handlebars of his bicycle, and passed them along on behalf of Jews.
After he died in 2000, at the age of 85, it was revealed that Bartali had also hidden an entire Jewish family in the basement of his home during World War II to protect them from Nazi persecution.
In 1943, Italy surrendered to the Allies, and the German army occupied northern and central parts of the country, according to the BBC. The Nazis immediately started rounding up Jews and sending them to concentration camps. Catholic-born Bartali was asked by the Cardinal of Florence, Archbishop Elia Dalla Costa, to join a secret network that offered help to Jews and others discriminated against.
“He hid us in spite of knowing that the Germans were killing everybody who was hiding Jews,” Giorgio Goldenberg, a member of the Jewish family the cyclist hid, said in the 2014 documentary, “My Italian Secret: The Forgotten Heroes.”
Goldenberg, whose father, Giacomo, was a friend of Bartali’s, added, “He was risking not only his life but also his family. Gino Bartali saved my life and the life of my family. That’s clear because if he hadn’t hidden us, we had nowhere to go.”
Bartali helped and saved several Jewish families during the 1930s and 1940s, and in 2013 he was posthumously recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations by Israel’s Holocaust memorial and education center Yad Vashem.