Olga Benario-Prestes (1908 – 1942)

»Unthinkable, to not see you, my little girl, again.« This was what Olga Benario-Prestes wrote to her young daughter just before being murdered. The communist and Jew had been politically very active since the 1920s. At that time, she had been involved in, among other things, the spectacular escape of a prisoner in Berlin-Moabit and had fled to the Soviet Union in 1933, where she met Luís Carlos Prestes. She moved with him to his homeland of Brazil in 1935.

After the couple had taken part in a failed coup in Brazil, the country handed Olga Benario-Prestes over to the Gestapo in 1936. She was already pregnant at this time. She gave birth to her daughter in the Female Prison Barnimstrasse in Berlin a short time later. The child was taken away from Olga Benario-Prestes and given to the grandmother in Brazil.

After she was taken to Lichtenburg concentration camp in 1938, the Gestapo deported her to Ravensbrück concentration camp in 1939. As part of the so-called »Judenaktion« (»Jewish Action«), Olga Benario-Prestes was moved from Ravensbrück to the Bernburg killing centre in one of the first transports and murdered there in late April 1942.

Image: Olga Benario-Prestes, around 1935
Olga Benario-Prestes, around 1935
© Bundesarchiv-Bildarchiv, Bild 183-H520-0600-011