Hide & Seek: The Irish Priest in the Vatican Who Defied the Nazi Command

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Overview

Hide & Seek chronicles the intensely personal war between wartime Rome?s Nazi SS Chief Herbert Kappler and the Vatican?s Monsignor Hugh O?Flaherty, a fiercely fought rivalry that culminated in Kappler attempting to kidnap and murder his Irish opponent, who was determined to fight Rome?s Nazi rulers. Called ?Ireland?s Oscar Schindler,? O?Flaherty masterminded a large-scale operation from inside the neutral Vatican, to hide and help Jews, downed airmen, and escaped Allied prisoners. Using safe houses ...

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Overview

Hide & Seek chronicles the intensely personal war between wartime Rome’s Nazi SS Chief Herbert Kappler and the Vatican’s Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a fiercely fought rivalry that culminated in Kappler attempting to kidnap and murder his Irish opponent, who was determined to fight Rome’s Nazi rulers. Called “Ireland’s Oscar Schindler,” O’Flaherty masterminded a large-scale operation from inside the neutral Vatican, to hide and help Jews, downed airmen, and escaped Allied prisoners. Using safe houses and church buildings, the priest sheltered around five hundred Jews in the Holy See and many thousands more Jews and Allied escapees in and around Rome.

After a Resistance bomb killed thirty-two German soldiers, an enraged Hitler ordered revenge. Kappler planned and oversaw the firing squad execution of 335 people in the Ardeatine Caves outside Rome. The massacre became the worst atrocity committed on Italian soil during the war. After the war, the Nazi colonel was found guilty on all the charges relating to the massacre and sentenced to life. Amazingly, O’Flaherty began visiting his former rival in prison, engaging in a long-run conversation that led to Kappler’s conversion—and baptism by the Irish Monsignor.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Stephen Walker has produced a really thrilling book, all the more so because he has taken care to reflect the complexities of his central characters.” —Fergal Keane

“Remarkably affecting . . . the old stories are, it seems, still the best ones.” —The Sunday Telegraph

“Stephen Walker has shone new light on the story.” —The Irish News

“A fascinating account of one of the most amazing Irish stories of World War Two.” —Sunday World

“Walker's book reads like a thriller.” —Books Ireland

“An inspiring story of sacrifice and humanity.” —Irish Mail

“O’Flaherty operated under the nose of the Gestapo and barely missed being kidnapped and assassinated. . . . Another extraordinary story of how the bravery of one individual halted the tide of evil.” —Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Suspenseful, cat-and-mouse account of one Vatican priest who resisted the Gestapo's terror policies. While Pope Pius XII was wringing his hands about Allied bombing of Rome and essentially keeping quiet while the Gestapo deported the Jews and massacred the inhabitants, Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, an Irish priest and official of the Holy Office, had accidentally begun to organize an Allied escape operation by the summer of 1943. As told in this non-scholarly account by BBC journalist Walker (Forgotten Soldiers: The Irishmen Shot at Dawn, 2007), O'Flaherty had no love for the English, having been politicized by British violence against the Irish back in the 1920s while he was in apostolic college in Limerick. However, during World War II he gradually changed his mind. Thanks to O'Flaherty's network, which offered money, false ID papers and safe houses, a trickling of British soldiers had managed to seek refuge at the Vatican, and soon others found aid during the nine months of Nazi occupation. Meanwhile, the head of Rome's intelligence agency was the ruthless, ambitious Nazi Herbert Kappler, who organized the Fascist police force and infiltrated espionage operations in Rome. Protected by Vatican neutrality, O'Flaherty operated under the nose of the Gestapo and barely missed being kidnapped and assassinated. Following orders, Kappler was responsible for rounding up 1,000 Roman Jews for deportation to Auschwitz, as well as the cold-blooded massacre of 325 prisoners in the Ardeatine Caves in 1944. While O'Flaherty was celebrated after the war, Kappler was tried and imprisoned for life. Another extraordinary story of how the bravery of one individual halted the tide of evil.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762780396
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 694,574
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Walker is an award-winning journalist who has worked for BBC Northern Ireland for twenty years as a television and radio reporter, a documentary maker, and a correspondent. In 2005 he was named the Northern Ireland Journalist of the Year. His first book, Forgotten Soldiers: The Irishmen Shot at Dawn, was shortlisted for the 2007 Irish Non Fiction Book of the Year.

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Table of Contents

  1. Appointment to kill
  2. Destination Italy
  3. Rome is home
  4. Secrets and spies
  5. The end of Mussolini
  6. Operation escape
  7. Occupation
  8. Target O’Flaherty
  9. Closing the net
  10. Raids and arrests
  11. Resistance and revenge
  12. Massacre
  13. Clampdown
  14. Liberation
  15. Conviction and conversion
  16. Kerry calling
  17. Dear Herbert
  18. The great escape
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