Italy’s Featherweight boxing champion, Leone Efrati, came to the
States in December 1938 to challenge Leo Rodak, one of several World
Featherweight division title claimants. Efrati lost the 10-round decision
but opted to remain in the United States because of the specter of World
War II. He was able to stay in America until 1943.
From the outbreak of World War II, Italy was partnered with Germany
and Japan against the United States and its allies. Although his supporters
tried to persuade U.S. officials that Efrati’s return to Italy
certain death, he was deported. A short time after his return, the
champion was arrested in Rome and deported to Auschwitz concentration
camp, where he was put to death in 1944.
Efrati is elected as a representative of Italian-Jewish athletes who
in the Holocaust.