(October 16, 1911 – April 11, 1944, Fort Mont-Valérien
), 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
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.
(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.
In 1936, Epstein joined the Republican side in the......