Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, CBE (28 February 1898 – 30 October 1963) was an Irish Roman Catholic priest and senior official of the Roman Curia, and significant figure in Catholic resistance to Nazism. During World War II, he was responsible for saving 6,500 Allied soldiers and Jews. His ability to evade the traps set by the German Gestapo and Sicherheitsdienst, earned O’Flaherty the nickname “The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican”. He was the first Irishman named Notary of the Holy Office.
This ingenious priest was the mastermind of an underground movement to house and save over 6,500 jews and allied soldiers. He was so audacious that the nazi germans painted a large circle around the vatican saying that if O’flaherty crossed that line he would be killed. This did not hold him back. Instead he would disguise himself as a nun, a street cleaner, a beggar, etc. in order to get into travel incognito throughout Rome to help refugees. He was so daring that he even dressed up as a German general in order to go into a German prison and give last communion to a fellow priest who was to be exectuted.