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Italian Family, Polish Man Honored By Illinois Holocaust Museum

SKOKIE, Ill. (CBS) -- They risked their lives to help victims of the Holocaust and on Wednesday, three people were honored for their selfless acts. One of the survivors who benefited from their courage shared her story with CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot.

Italians Giocondo and Annina Marconi now have a place of honor on the Ferro Fountain of the Righteous, at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. Those two changed the life of Dr. Adina P. Sella forever.

"It shows the world that decency and responsibility are still alive," Sella said, "Not everybody behaves the way the Germans did."


Sella says the Marconis gave her mother, father and brother shelter in their Tuscany home, sparing them the fate their entire family suffered. Sella says her entire family that lived in Poland died in Auschwitz and other camps.

"Even under the worst Nazi horror, Italy refused, absolutely refused, to turn the Jewish population of Italy over to the Nazis," said Dominic DiFrisco, president emeritus of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans.

"I am glad that they were actually recognized as 'Righteous Among the Nations,'" said Marco Graziosi, Deputy Consul of Italy. "It seems to me the proper title.

Also receiving the title "Righteous Among the Nations" was Jan Knofliczek from Poland.

"He risked his life, he risked his future family's life and I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him," said Joanna Mikosz, Jan's granddaughter.

"The outcome was always the same, saving one life saves generations," said Konrad Zielinski, Vice Consul Polish Consulate.

Doctor Adina Sella became a psychologist. She says this is now her way to give back to others.

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