The Cattaneo family

The Cattaneo family’s story is made precious by one of its members named Lidia Gelmi Cattaneo that was the first woman in Bergamo to be given the recognition of “ Rightous Among the Nations” in 1974.

As a matter of fact, her house was one of the “stations” on the way to salvation for lots of Jewish refugees during the war.

Born in 1903, Lidia was a versatile woman of great human and intellectual depth. She was an excellent miniaturist and her miniated works are all over the world.

After having painted in miniature the portrait of the Persian Shah as well as the one of the Queen Elena of Savoia, she was invited to go  first to Teheran and then to Lisbon. She did the same with Angelo Roncalli, monsignor at that time and  future pope later on with the name of Giovanni XXIII. She has been always attached to him by a deep brotherly relationship.

During the Second World War, risking her own life, Lidia did not hesitate to help and give shelter to people of any culture, nation and religion and for this reason, as it is said above, she was named among The Rightous in the world.

Great  believer in women’s rights, Lidia wrote a letter to Benito Mussolini, in which she reprimanded him sharply as he had not mentioned the importance of  women’s role in one of his official addresses to the nation.

Lidia was really a peculiar woman: it is so true to say that as she was also the first woman in Bergamo to get the driving licence in 1932.

Lidia was pretty fond of archaeology and that passion took her to the farthest places in the world, even long before the outbreak of the war.

To be taken as an example by our generations and the future ones, Lidia Gelmi Cattaneo died in 1994 at the age of ninety-one.

This post is also available in: Italian