Rotta. Angelo (1872 -1963)

Archbishop, Papal Nuncio in Budapest

Milan-born and a veteran in extracting Jews from Nazi peril which he practiced in his former posting in Bulgaria, where he solicited the aid of the Pope and issued warnings to the King not to accede to the deportation of his Jewish citizens. Aided by the Nuncio to Turkey and Greece, Archbishop Roncalli, he issued baptismal certificates for protection and safe conduct certificates for travel to Palestine

Assigned to Budapest he became the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in 1944, gathering the neutral countries, the ‘Seven’ – Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the International Red Cross and the Vatican as well as their cooperative officials, such as Karl Lutz, the Swiss Consul;  Friedrich Born, head of the IRK;  Giorgio ‘Jorge’ Perlasca, from the Spanish embassy, Raul Wallenberg, Per Anger, Waldemar Langlet, Carl Danielsson, Lars Berg all from the Swedish embassy; Angel Sanz-Briz, Spanish ambassador; Archbishop Gennaro Verolino, a fellow Vatican diplomat and Aristides de Sousa Mendes, the Portuguese ambassador.

Rotta, a tireless activist, was set on preventing deportations and abuses of Jews. He issued over fifteen thousand safe conduct documents under the Vatican’s neutrality protection. He made available masses of baptismal certificates, getting into conflict with the local princes of the church who were not eager to participate in this ‘Save the Jews’ project. Aided by Archbishop Verolino, he set up additional Schutzhäuser, personally protecting the Safe Houses.  He took people out of Eichmann’s Fussmarsch, removed people from deportation assemblies and consistently and constantly protested as Dean of the Diplomatic Corps to both the German and Hungarian authorities against the persecutions of the Jews.

Recognized as a ‘Righteous among Nations’ Angelo Rotta retired from his diplomatic duties in 1957. He died in Rome in 1965, aged ninety-three.

 

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