Gerrino Paulo Razza, Manhattan Restaurateur, WWII veteran, husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather dies at age 95.
Guerrino Paulo Razza lived the American dream. He left his family’s farm, with no running water or electricity, in Pirano Italy at the age of 17. He joined the Italian Air Force in 1942 to fight in The Great War. In 1943, after Italy’s surrender, the Nazis began rounding up the Italian soldiers. Guerrino and his brother were captured. He later escaped Nazi custody hiding on a train back to Italy, jumping from the train and running as the it approached and left each town for two days and nights. His brother did not escape and later died in the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. After the war Guerrino moved to Genoa, the home city of Columbus, where he worked as a deck hand on an ocean transport shipping vessel, traveling back and forth across the Atlantic. In 1950, at the age of 25, he jumped ship from atop the Hudson River to west 14th St and illegally entered the United States. In NYC, he got work as a dish washer and porter in NYC restaurants. He was poor and homeless, sleeping in the basements of the establishments where he worked. On one busy Saturday night, in a packed restaurant, the immigration authorities kicked in the kitchen door and rounded up all the illegal Italian immigrants. He was detained at Ellis Island for 3 months. As he posed no identifiable threat, and was a veteran, he was released through Ellis Island where he was renamed Gerrino. Gerrino, or as his American friends called him “Jerry”, began his long journey of working his way through the NYC restaurant industry. From dish washer, to sous chef, through culinary school, to Chef. He continued to push upward and onward until the day he opened his first location as an owner in Manhattan. Gerrino went on to own 5 restaurants in Manhattan and finally, in 1980, in Hoboken, NJ. “Gerrino’s”, his flagship, remained Hoboken’s premiere eating and drinking establishment for over 30 years. “Gerrino’s” is still considered one of the first developments in Hoboken’s modern renaissance. Gerrino met his wife of 68 years, Pina, a coat factory worker, in 1952, in English night school class at Demarest in Hoboken. He is survived by Pina, his children John and Angelica, 3 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. His name now dons the commemorative wall at Ellis Island.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered on Friday, October 23, 2020, 10AM at St. Francis Church, 308 Jefferson Street, Hoboken. Entombment will follow at Fairview Mausoleum, Fairview, New Jersey. Visitation will be held on Thursday, October 22, 2020, beginning at 4PM and concluding at 8PM at Failla-McKnight Memorial Home, 533 Willow Avenue, Hoboken. Parking available in rear of memorial home off Sixth Street. In lieu of flowers, donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital will be greatly appreciated by the family.