A Cycling Legend’s Secret War Mission: Saving Italy’s Jews

Dec 01, 2017 1238

Italy and bicycles—the first thing they bring to mind is likely the neo-realist masterpiece The Bicycle Thieves, which will soon celebrate its 75th anniversary. But there’s another story that’s even more powerful and all the more remarkable for being true: the tale of Gino Bartali, Italy’s wartime cycling champ and—unbeknownst to all but a few—secret agent for the Italian Resistance who saved hundreds of Jews from the Holocaust.

Gino Bartali was born in 1914, the son of a laborer and an embroiderer, in Ponte a Ema, a village along the Arno River a few miles outside Florence. When he turned 11, Bartali had to commute to school and bought a used bicycle to make the trip. As he rode, he discovered an unusual talent for cycling: He regularly blew past other riders, despite his poor equipment. 

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SOURCE: https://www.thedailybeast.com

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