Père Marie-Benoît and Jewish Rescue: How a French Priest Together with Jewish Friends Saved Thousands During the Holocaust

Susan Zuccotti. Indiana Univ, $35 (264p) ISBN 978-0-253-00853-4
Who better to rescue from obscurity an Oskar Schindler–like hero than historian Zuccotti (The Holocaust, the French, and the Jews)? She has written extensively on the experience of French and Italian Jews in the Holocaust, but it’s more than her impressive credentials and knowledge base that makes this biography an intellectual page-turner accessible to a general audience. This account of the life of Capuchin priest Père Marie-Benoît and his successful efforts to save thousands of Jews offers the perfect amount of detail and context. Zuccotti’s approach begins before Marie-Benoît’s birth in 1895, with a review of the geography and history of the region in France where he was born. She then moves on to profile the courageous priest in the trenches of the First World War, where he served as a stretcher-bearer, and afterward during his high-level religious studies in Rome after the war. When Italy declared war on his homeland in 1940, Marie-Benoît returned to a divided France, where he witnessed the persecution and deportation of Jews. Zuccotti naturally asks why her protagonist, under pressure to go along with the anti-Judaism of the Catholic Church, bucked the trend, but in the absence of an explanation from him, does not dwell on speculation. Relying on archival sources and her own interviews with Marie-Benoît and those he helped to save, Zuccotti’s portrait of the “Father of the Jews” is as historically important as it is entertaining. Photos. Agent: Georges Borchardt, Georges Borchardt, Inc. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/04/2013
Release date: 04/17/2013
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.