HIS grandmother provided the 'safe house' in Rome that gave refuge to countless escapees during World War II.
And this week, David Sands, the grandson of Maltese widow Henrietta Chevalier, and his wife Janice are in Co Kerry to pay their respects to her co-conspirator, Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, the Irish priest who set up the Rome Escape Line with Col Sam Derry.
Mrs Chevalier, a mother of eight, provided the primary safe house in Rome, where escaping prisoners of war were housed before they could safely be taken out of Italy.
Between them, Msgr O'Flaherty and Col Derry are credited with saving the lives of more than 6,500 people, mainly Allied servicemen and Jews. They were helped by people like Mrs Chevalier, who made her tiny third-floor apartment available to them.
Mr Sands's mother Gemma grew up in that apartment but, according to her son, rarely spoke of the family's exploits during the war.
Though now suffering from dementia, he said neither his mother nor any of her four other surviving siblings ever spoke much about the heroic exploits of his grandmother.
"Of course it's a huge source of family pride, but my mother could never really speak of it because it was too close to her heart," Mr Sands told the Irish Independent.
Mr and Mrs Sands are in Killarney to take part in the Msgr Hugh O'Flaherty Memorial Week celebrations.
Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of the monsignor's death on October 30, 1963.