Olga Benário Prestes

Olga Benário Prestes was an interesting person; she was a Jewish Communist from Munich, Switzerland. Her father was a social-democratic lawyer of Jewish origin, and her mother was a member of Bavarian high society. In 1923 Olga joined the Communist Youth International, and it has been theorized that in 1928 she organized and successfully freed her lover, Otto Braun from Moabit prison. She went to Czechoslovakia and from there, reunited with Braun, to Moscow, where Olga attended the Lenin-School of the Comintern and then worked as an instructor of the Communist Youth International, in the Soviet Union and in France and Great Britain, where she participated in coordinating anti-fascist activities. She parted from Otto Braun in 1931.

Olga in 1934 was appointed the task to return Luis Carlos Prestes to Brazil. This was only successful because of originally false documents that they were a married couple, by the time the couple had reached the shores of Brazil from Russia in 1935 this was a reality.  Olga and Carlos were arrested after the failed insurrection of tenenates of 1935-6, this was the result of the anti communist campaign carried out by Getulio Vargas. Why so?

Well Vargas was an interesting character, he was a sociopath that had a habit of changing political stances to keep himself in power. At this particular time Hitler was coming into power in Germany. And Brazil at the time depended on Germany to take the exports of raw materials from Brazil, so to keep in good relations with Germany and Italy. Vargas adopted the fascist ideals of Hitler and Mussolini. Now Carlos was the leader of Brazil’s communist party, and Vargas wanted to make an example of Carlos. So Carlos was tossed in jail and to add salt to the wound Olga, pregnant was sent as a personal gift from Vargas to Hitler.

On arrival, Olga was put in prison, where she gave birth to a daughter; Anita Leocadia. Afterwards Olga and her daughter were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp and from there to an experimental extermination camp where Olga and Anita were gassed.

Correction: Olga was sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp, and Prestes’  mother took custody of Anita. Later Anita returned to her father, Carlos in Brazil. Where she became a historian.


About rebellioustudent

Anthropolgy and English student, extremely rebellious at heart and outspoken. I am going into my fourth year of an undergrad, after that who knows?
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6 Responses to Olga Benário Prestes

  1. Regina says:

    In fact, Anita Leocádia survived and joined her father in Brazil, where she became a historian. But kudos for remembering the great Olga (by the way, you can read a translation of her biography by Fernando Morais in this link:

  2. rebellioustudent says:

    I am so sorry! I will correct that immediately, thank you for bringing to my attention

  3. Regina says:

    Oh, don’t be sorry. Your post is pretty accurate. By the way, if this is ok with you, I will include it in my Brazilian Blog Carnival tomorrow.

  4. Pingback: Brazilian (Blog) Carnival « Deep Brazil

  5. Regina says:

    One more thing: Anita Leocádia was named after Prestes’s mother (Leocádia) and Anita Garibaldi. If you intend to write about forgotten heroines, you definitely should check on Anita Garibaldi. Great character, a warrior both in Brazil and Italy.

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