Who was Alexander Glasberg? A Jewish émigré from the former Russian empire who settled in France in 1932 and became a Catholic priest. A Yiddish-speaking polyglot. A man of astonishing audacity who saved many Jews during the German occupation. After narrowly escaping from the clutches of the Gestapo in Lyon in 1942, he appeared under an assumed name as a parish priest in south-west France, where he joined the local Resistance.
After the Liberation he moved to Paris and set up an entirely secular organisation, COS, to help people to find their feet in France after the traumas of the war. It provided a unique combination of services for asylum-seekers, for the elderly and for the disabled. Forty years after the death of the founder in 1981, the COS Alexander Glasberg Foundation is much bigger but remains strikingly faithful to the ideals which inspired its beginnings.
Abbé Glasberg was a free spirit who evaded all conventional boxes. A priest outside the Church. An ardent Francophile yet passionate defender of refugees. A Zionist yet strong supporter of the Palestinian people. A sociable yet also secretive figure. This book traces key moments in his remarkable life and sheds light on a mesmerising personality.