The Righteous Among The Nations
Odoardo Focherini, born in 1907, in Carpi, in Modena province, was a devout Catholic and, since his early teens, had been involved in the activities of the local Catholic Church. He organized social, religious, and cultural events. In 1930, he married Maria Marchesi. By 1943, the couple had seven children. Focherini worked in an insurance company, at first as an agent and later as an inspector. Throughout the years, he also wrote for national and local papers, and, in 1939, he was offered to join the board of directors of the Catholic newspaper L’Avvenire d’Italia. When the war broke out, and especially after September 1943, Focherini was aware of the situation in Italy. He realized that the many Jewish refugees who had come there were in danger of deportation as were the Italian Jews as well. Thus, he arranged false papers for many of them and established a rescue network. Focherini was arrested on March 11, 1944. At first, he was imprisoned in the prison in Bologna. Then he was transferred to Fossoli, Bolzano, Flossenburg, and finally Hersbruck, where he died on December 24, 1944. After the war, in 1955, his wife Maria Focherini received a gold medal from the Unione delle Comunità Israelitiche Italiane, an honor posthumously bestowed upon her husband. Don Claudio Pontiroli wrote about Odoardo Focherini’s life in the book, Odoardo Focherini, martire della libertà (1994).
On February 18, 1969, Yad Vashem recognized Odoardo Focherini as Righteous Among the Nations.