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How a French Capuchin Priest Saved Thousands During Holocaust to Be Depicted at Ramapo College

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)September 26, 2013

(MAHWAH, NJ)  – Noted historian Susan Zuccotti will examine 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.  The program to be held at Ramapo College of New Jersey on October 23 at 7 p.m. in the Trustees Pavilion (PAV 1&2), is being co-sponsored Italian Club of Ramapo College and supported by the Morton and Clara Richmond Endowment.  Zuccotti’s talk will be based on her new book, “Père Marie-Benoît and Jewish Rescue: How a French Priest Together with Jewish Friends Saved Thousands During the Holocaust,” published in June by the Indiana University Press.

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? What was his motivation? What made him join an organization, dissolved by Pope Pius XI in 1928, that questioned the traditional anti-Semitic teachings of the Catholic Church? As Zuccotti will reveal, she found some of the answers to these questions in a collection of letters that the not-yet ordained Marie-Benoît written to his mentor and teacher, an older Capuchin priest, during his service at the front during the First World War. To tell this remarkable tale more fully, 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.

Susan Sessions Zuccotti holds a Ph.D. in Modern European History from Columbia University. She has won a National Jewish Book Award for Holocaust Studies, and the Premio Acqui Storia – Primo Lavoro for “Italians and the Holocaust” (1987). She also received a National Jewish Book Award for Jewish-Christian Relations, and the Sybil Halpern Milton Memorial Prize of the German Studies Association in 2002 for “Under His Very Windows” (2000). She lives in Brooklyn and is married to John Zuccotti. This is her fourth visit to Ramapo College.

For a photo of Professor Zuccotti, please click here:


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per

Ramapo College provides its students with individualized attention, mentorship, and supports; hands-on learning; and a range of opportunities for service and leadership development. Its graduation and retention rates exceed national averages and it places approximately 1,000 students per year in internships in New York City. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice; is recognized as the state’s top college on the list of Best Disability Schools by Great Value Colleges; is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools; and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others.  

Ramapo College’s over 40,000 alumni are the confident, intellectually curious, self-aware, and humble people who are highly sought after and who make a positive impact at local, national, and global levels.  Ramapo College is distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by Every student at Ramapo is enrolled in its unique and award winning Pathways Program which equips and empowers students, across the continuum of their academic career, to secure internships, pursue graduate/professional school, and/or enter the job market. 

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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