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First non-white joins Vatican guard

The Vatican has sworn in the first non-white member of the Swiss Guard, the elite corps of soldiers who protect the Pope.

Private Dhani Bachmann, who comes from India, speaks only German - he was adopted by a Swiss family when he was only five years old.

Many tourists seem surprised to see an Indian in the uniform of a Swiss Guard

The Swiss Guard, the world's smallest army, gets its recruits from a group of Swiss towns and villages which for centuries have provided the Pope's personal mercenaries.

Dhani Bachmann - his first name is Indian and his family name is Swiss - was adopted together with three other children from an Indian orphanage by the German-speaking Bachmann family from a village called Hildisrieden in central Switzerland.

Bachmann is learning Italian so he can answer the many questions put to him by tourists when he is on guard in St Peter's Square.

Swiss Guard
Swiss Guard (Vatican website)
Keepers of the Faith (Time 3/6/02)


5 Jul 2002