MembersThe Unknown Alpine Rescue

The remarkable story of an alpine recluse who saved Jews escaping the Nazis was recorded in a lost diary discovered by chance in an Italian repository.

By David Lazarus |

In an exclusive interview with the journalist who discovered this diary, Israel Today can now tell the extraordinary account of how Ettore Castiglioni, once an officer in the Italian army under the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini, helped Jews cross the highest alpine peaks to safety during World War II.

I meet the Italian journalist who uncovered Castiglioni’s diary during his visit to the Italian Cultural Institute in Tel Aviv. Still bursting with emotion over having just made the discovery, he described for me the hidden journey of Ettore Castiglioni.

Born to a wealthy Italian family, Castiglioni was an army officer, lawyer and musician who above all loved to climb the Alps in northern Italy in search of peace and quiet amid the turmoil of that time. “In his soul he was a hermit,” the journalist told me. “A solitary person, always in the mountains. Sitting among the highest alpine peaks, Castiglioni wrote a diary of over 1,000 pages.”

Walking among the tiny mountain chalets, Castiglioni would hear shouts echoing back and forth across the valleys where no one else...

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