Great WWII story of Irish priest assigned to the Vatican who frustrated the Nazis.

He was Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a tall (6ft 2ins) humourous-looking Irish man from Kerry. He had tousled hair that stood up like a brush’s bristles, eyes which twinkled through his thin-rimmed glasses and a fixed cherubic smile. Almost Father Ted material.

O’Flaherty made it his practice to stand on the steps of St Peter’s every evening, overlooking the great square in his black and red Monsignor’s robes, reading – or seeming to read – his breviary. People would come up to talk and keep him informed of escaped prisoners who needed hiding places.

Having served in the Vatican since the Twenties, he had contacts and friends in high places throughout Rome. Furthermore, the Vatican’s neutral territory included not only the rambling warren of St Peter’s but 150 other properties, monasteries, convents and religious houses scattered through the city. All possible hidey-holes.

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