Gino Bartali was an Italian professional cyclist. He started competitive cycling at age 13, won more than 180 races, making him a local hero throughout the 1930s and 1940s. During World War II, his status enabled him to ride through the Tuscan and Umbrian countryside undisturbed by wartime officials, making it possible for him to conceal documents in his bike’s handlebars for Jews who needed forged identity cards to save their lives. He continued this work even after being questioned and threatened by Mussolini’s government agents.
It wasn’t until 2003 that stories began to emerge about Bartali’s quiet heroism during the war, which included hiding a Jewish family in his basement. Risking his own freedom and safety to protect others, Bartali turned his sport into a race to save lives.
Buon compleanno Gino Bartali!
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