Joseph Epstein (French Resistance leader)

Joseph Epstein (French Resistance Leader)

Joseph Epstein (French Resistance leader)

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Joseph Epstein (October 16, 1911 – April 11, 1944, Fort Mont-Valérien, France), also known as Colonel Gilles and as Joseph Andrej, was a Polish-born Jewish communist activist and a French Resistance leader during World War II. He was executed by the Germans.

Communist organizer

Joseph Epstein was born in Zamość, Congress Poland. He studied law at Warsaw University. There he became aware of the Polish Communist Party, and later he joined it.

In 1931, he was arrested by the police after speaking at a communist rally, but he was released after a few weeks. He fled to Czechoslovakia, where he sought asylum, but his plea was rejected. Epstein returned to Poland, only long enough to be deported by the authorities.

In Tours (France), where he organized immigrant laborers, Epstein met and married Paula Grynfeld, a Jewish pharmacy student from the city of Lodz in Poland. When the French police were informed by the Polish consulate about his participation in the Communist Party, Epstein was arrested and forced to leave Tours. He and his wife traveled to Bordeaux, where they continued their studies. He organized students into a collective, and he was appointed to the regional committee of the French Communist Party.

In 1933, they moved to Paris. The following year, Epstein passed his final examination, and he completed his law degree; however, he was barred from practicing law because he was not French.

Armed struggle

In 1936, Epstein joined the Republican side in the......
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