19 Facts About Ginetta Sagan


Ginetta Sagan was an Italian-born American human rights activist best known for her work with Amnesty International on behalf of prisoners of conscience.


Ginetta Sagan was captured and tortured in 1945, but escaped on the eve of her execution with the help of Nazi defectors.


The couple then resettled in Atherton, California, where Ginetta Sagan founded the first chapter of Amnesty International in the western US.


Ginetta Sagan later toured the region, helping to establish more than 75 chapters, and organized events to raise money for political prisoners.


In 1984, Ginetta Sagan was elected the honorary chair of Amnesty International USA.


Ginetta Sagan was born in Milan, Italy, to a Catholic father and Jewish mother.


Ginetta Sagan's father was later shot in a staged "attempted escape", and her mother sent to Auschwitz, where she was murdered.

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In late February 1945, Ginetta Sagan was betrayed by an informer in the movement and, like her parents, arrested by the Black Brigades.


Ginetta Sagan worked part-time teaching cooking classes to the wives of US Congressmen.


Ginetta Sagan lived there until her death from cancer on August 25,2000.


Ginetta Sagan is survived by her three sons- Duncan, Loring, and Stuart.


Ginetta Sagan had been involved in the organization in Washington, DC, and when she arrived in Atherton, she founded the US's 19th chapter, holding its meetings in her living room.


In 1971, Ginetta Sagan organized a concert with singer Joan Baez, one of her Atherton neighbors, in order to raise money for Greek political prisoners; the concert drew more than 10,000 people.


An AI spokesman later attributed Ginetta Sagan with doing more than anyone to establish Amnesty International in the US, adding that "I think she has probably organized more people than anyone else in the human rights movement globally".


Ginetta Sagan founded the organization's first newsletter, Matchbox, in 1973.


Ginetta Sagan became a figure of controversy from the right and later from the left in the 1970s when she and Baez shifted their focus from protesting abuses by American forces in the Vietnam War to protesting the abuses of North Vietnamese reeducation camps following the war.


Ginetta Sagan served on the AI USA National Board of Directors from 1983 to 1987.


In 1987, Ginetta Sagan won a Jefferson Award for Public Service in the category of "Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged".


Ginetta Sagan represents to all the triumph of the human spirit over tyranny.