Père Marie-Benoît and Jewish Rescue

Père Marie-Benoît and Jewish Rescue

How a French Priest Together with Jewish Friends Saved Thousands during the Holocaust
Susan Zuccotti
Distribution: World
Publication date: 06/04/2013
Format: Hardback 16 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-00853-4
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2014 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award, Gold Winner, History

Susan Zuccotti narrates the life and work of Père Marie-Benoît, a courageous French Capuchin priest who risked everything to hide Jews in France and Italy during the Holocaust. Who was this extraordinary priest and how did he become adept at hiding Jews, providing them with false papers, and helping them to elude their persecutors? From monasteries first in Marseille and later in Rome, Père Marie-Benoît worked with Jewish co-conspirators to build remarkably effective Jewish-Christian rescue networks. Acting independently without Vatican support but with help from some priests, nuns, and local citizens, he and his friends persisted in their clandestine work until the Allies liberated Rome. After the conflict, Père Marie-Benoît maintained his wartime Jewish friendships and devoted the rest of his life to Jewish Christian reconciliation. Papal officials viewed both activities unfavorably until after the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), 1962-1965.

To tell this remarkable tale, in addition to her research in French and Italian archives, Zuccotti personally interviewed Père Marie-Benoît, his family, Jewish rescuers with whom he worked, and survivors who owed their lives to his network.

Author Bio

Susan Zuccotti is author of The Italians and the Holocaust: Persecution, Rescue, and Survival; The Holocaust, the French, and the Jews; Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy; and Holocaust Odysseys: The Jews of Saint-Martin-Vésubie and Their Flight through France and Italy. She has taught Holocaust history at Barnard College in New York and Trinity College in Hartford.


“Uncovers the story of one remarkable religious and priest during humanity's darkest time. . . . The work is extremely compelling, engaging the reader's full attention, and challenging to put down.”
 — Kevin P. Spicer, author of Antisemitism, Christian Ambivalence, and the Holocaust (IUP, 2007)

“Gold Medal, World History category, 2014 Independent Publisher Book Awards 2014 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award, Gold Winner, History”

“Provides a close-up look at how rescue during the Holocaust worked. . . . To reveal in detail what happened over half a century ago constitutes an astonishing piece of sleuthing.”
 — Michael Phayer, author of The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965 (IUP, 2001 )

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Table of Contents

1 Pierre Péteul: Family Heritage and Education
2 Pierre Péteul and the First World War
3 The Years between the Wars, 1919-1939
4 First Steps toward Jewish Rescue: Marseille, May 1940 to August 1942
5 With Joseph Bass in Marseille, August 1942 to June 1943
6 With Angelo Donati in Nice, November 1942 to June 1943
7 Père Marie-Benoît and the Donati Plan, June to September 1943
8 Early Rescue in Rome, September and October 1943
9 With Stefan Schwamm in Rome: Securing Documents for Jewish Rescue
10 With Stefan Schwamm in Rome: Securing Funds for Jewish Rescue
11 After the Liberation of Rome
12 The Final Decades

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