New book: The Marcel Network: How One French Couple Saved 527 Children from the Holocaust, by Fred Coleman ’60 (Potomac Books)
The author: As a foreign correspondent, Coleman was Newsweek’s bureau chief in Paris for five years and the magazine’s bureau chief in Moscow for eight. He won the Newspaper Guild of New York’s Page 1 Award for the best reporting from abroad for magazines. He also is the author of The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Empire.
The book: Coleman tells the story of a young French Jewish couple — Syrian immigrant Moussa Abadi and Odette Rosenstock — who created a clandestine operation to save Jewish children in Nazi-occupied France. With the help of the bishop of Nice and Protestant pastors, the couple hid Jewish children in the homes of Protestant families and in Catholic schools and convents. In conducting research for the book, Coleman interviewed some of the now grown children that the couple saved, including Julien Engel ’54.
Opening lines: “Julien Engel saw his parents for the last time when he was barely nine years old. They stood on one side of a barbed-wire fence. Julien and his little brother, George, then not yet four, stood on the other. It was September 1942, during the German occupation of France in World War II. Their parents, David and Rosa Engel, had been arrested because they were Jews, and detained at an internment camp in the southwest.”
Review: Coleman “relates an inspiring tale of courage in the face of unspeakable evil. It is a story of determination and persistence, of compassion and sacrifice. It is also the story of a love that flourished in the most horrific context and would last for nearly 60 years,” wrote Bonjour Paris. “It is a story that needed to be told, and Coleman is a skilled raconteur. He gives a balanced account, revealing just how much the Catholic Church, French Christians, and Jews themselves did to save Jewish lives.”