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Père Marie-Benoît and Jewish Rescue: How a French Priest Together with Jewish Friends Saved Thousands during the Holocaust Hardcover – June 4, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book, thoroughly researched and highly readable, stands as a fitting monument to a man whose selfless acts in two countries had lifesaving consequences." —H-Judaic



"[Zuccotti's] scholarship provides depth and context to the story of Père Marie-Benoît and the perilous landscape in which he operated. Most of all, her biography helps to keep alive the memory of one of the brave men and women whose actions showed that goodness and charity will survive even in the midst of a great evil." —Wall Street Journal



"This brave man had shown to the world how a single individual can make all the difference. Zuccotti's well-told story - with extensive notes on every chapter - is a tribute to tolerance and better understanding between all national, religious and racial groups, a challenge to this and future generations. One can only suggest that a large portrait of Père Marie-Benoît should hang in the planned Jerusalem Museum of Tolerance." —Jerusalem Post



"Susan Zuccotti, in her insightful and thoroughly researched Père Marie-Benoît and Jewish Rescue... makes the case for the crucial role played by extraordinary individuals during specific historical events." —Primo Levi Center



"(Starred Review) Who better to rescue from obscurity an Oskar Schindler–like hero than historian Zuccotti? 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. 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." —Publishers Weekly



"This book is highly recommended for all academic libraries." —AJL Reviews



"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 )



"With Père Marie-Benoît and Jewish Rescue, we have before us a book that, in marvelous detail, describes the righteous behavior of a French priest... Author Susan Zuccotti, skillfully and in fine detail, describes the Capuchin’s help in raising money from non-Jewish sources... How can one not recommend a well-researched and clearly written book that elevates us by illustrating the power of the human spirit in the face of evil and adversity?" —National Catholic Reporter



"A bright light within a dark, deeply distressing time in history." —Kirkus Reviews



"This biography is a welcome addition to our understanding of the rescue efforts in behalf of Jews by righteous Christians like Marie-Benoît and the Jewish rescue networks with which he worked." —Jewish Book World



"Père Marie-Benoît, Zuccotti observes, 'effectively straddled two worlds'..., the contemplative world of theological reflection and the active world of rescue and advocacy. Zuccotti's biography reveals the complex ways in which these worlds intersected, as well as the underlying convictions that bound and animated them. It is good to have such a thoughtful narrative of a life so well lived." —Holocaust and Genocide Studies



"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)

About the Author

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.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press (June 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253008530
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253008534
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #767,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 5 customer reviews
Maybe I am doing this book injustice; there might just not be more material.
Karl Berger
Fascinating story of what one man, a Capuchin friar in France, was able to do to help save thousands of Jews from Nazi and Vichy thugs bent on exterminating them.
John Tepper Marlin
Woe if he were to find out that someone had been hesitant to take in someone who had a bad reputation.
Marilyn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joan D Hostetter on September 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story of Roman Catholic Priests who saved Jews from the Holocaust needs this kind of readable yet scholarly presentation. It is good to remember the loving, brave heroes among the priests who saved Jews from the Nazis. Praises to Susan Zuccotti for this fine work. I half-expected a ponderous or overly excitable presentation, but Ms. Zuccotti has struck just the right balance here.
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20 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Marilyn on June 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read with interest what Susan Zuccotti says about Fr. Marie-Benoit. However, I find a great many inaccurate things in what she says about Pius XII. To name just four out of dozens:

1. Page 48: Re: Pius XII not mentioning the Jews specifically in his first encyclical -
Nevertheless Pius XII did specifically mention the Jews in his Christmas Eve sermon in the Consistory Hall to the Cardinals and high-ranking prelates on Dec. 24, 1940: "It is not a little comforting to Us to be in a position to console with the moral and spiritual assistance of Our representatives and with Our Peter's Pence subsidies, a huge number of refugees, of ex-patriates, of emigrants, among whom are also those of the Semitic race. We were able to give particularly large aid to the Poles..." See his speeches from 1940 on the Vatican website. See paragraph 18: "...anche fra quelli di stirpe semitica..."

2. Page 223: She says that Fr. Benoit said that the Vatican was not involved in helping DELASEM secure loans in lire against deposits of the Joint [American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee] in London at the end of 1943 and into 1944.

On the contrary, in March 1944 Count Carletti, a go-between, asked the Vatican bank to accept $16,000 from Jews in America and convert them into lire, to be used by DELASEM. Secretary of State, Cardinal Maglione responded,
"That would be an operation on behalf of a person residing in an enemy country. The Apostolic Delegate in Washington has warned us repeatedly that such operations are severely prohibited, even for small sums...
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John Tepper Marlin on November 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Fascinating story of what one man, a Capuchin friar in France, was able to do to help save thousands of Jews from Nazi and Vichy thugs bent on exterminating them.
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12 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Judie Amsel on July 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The book sounded very interesting to me because he sounds like a remarkable man but I am having a terrible time getting through it. After a week-- and I usually read a book in a day--I am only on page 65 out of 234. So far the story has talked about his life and possible influences before World War II. I want to know more about what he did and how he did it. I'm sure that will be covered but there is so much conjecture (e.g., He might have, we don't know if he, etc.) that I don't know if that will continue. Pere Marie-Benoit lived an amazing life. I hope someone writes a book worthy of his legacy.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Karl Berger on February 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Full disclosure: I bought this book because I am writing a novel about the French Resistance in WW II. I have read only the part that applies to that specific time, very few pages beyond. I hoped for more telling episodes and details about techniques of forgery and individual fates. The time I am most interested in—and so I think most readers will be—is not represented fully enough. Maybe I am doing this book injustice; there might just not be more material.
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