PERE JACQUES by Michel Carrouges

PERE JACQUES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a biography of Lucien Bunel, known as Pere Jacques, whose heroism, especially in the concentration camps of World War II, may lead to his beatification in Rome. Born near Rouen in 1900 into a large, devout, working-class family Lucien exhibited the characteristics of the special child and at the age of 12 entered the Petit Seminaire in Rouen. He was drafted from the seminary in 1920, served two years and was later ordained in 1925. He taught in a diocesan school and then, as a Carmelite monk, became headmaster of a boys' school at Fontainebleau. It was here that he was arrested by the Gestapo for sheltering three Jewish boys. His life thereafter in the concentration camps of Nene-Breme, Mauthausen and Gusen was one of permanent degradation as he and his comrades were submitted to the psychopathic barbarity of their captors. He was a source of comfort to the other prisoners, effacing himself for their benefit, yet he remained one of the resistance leaders. He died of pneumonia in May of 1945, three days after the liberation. His story is written in a heroic style but its particular kind of eloquence, most evident in describing Pere Jacques' early years, may not be to the taste of everyone.

Publisher: Macmillan