Italian Fisherman Who Saved Jews Dies at 87

Agostino Piazzesi Took Part in Dramatic 1944 Lake Rescue

By JTA

Published August 31, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A fisherman who took part in the dramatic rescue of about 30 Jews during World War II died this week.

Agostino Piazzesi, 87, was the last survivor of 15 fishermen who during the night of June 19-20, 1944 rescued the Jews, who were held by the Germans in a castle on Isola Maggiore in the middle of Lake Trasimeno in central Italy. Piazzesi rowed the Jews away from internment.

The dramatic story of the rescue came to light only a few years ago.

Using five small fishing boats, the fisherman took the Jews, who came from nearby Perugia, to a point on the lakeshore that was in the hands of the Allies; the island and the rest of the lake were under German control.

The local priest, the Rev. Ottavio Posta, organized the operation and took active part in the rescue. Last year Posta, who died in 1963, was honored as Righteous Among Nations by Yad Vashem and Piazzesi was knighted by the Italian government.

Men like Piazzesi “remain embedded in our hearts from generation to generation,” Riccardo Pacifici, the president of the Rome Jewish community, told JTA.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.