Viviane Janouin-Benanti

In the Name of Freedom

Version française

Joseph Boczov and Olga Bancic

Free people,
remember Joseph Boczov and Olga Bancic

February 1944: The Affiche Rouge(a propaganda poster, known as the “red poster” because of its red background) displays the faces of 10 immigrant resistance fighters, including Missak Manouchian and Joseph Boczov, wanted by the German and Vichy authorities. The poster is plastered all over France.

The Resistance fighters from the FTP-MOI groups (Francs-Tireurs et Partisans – Main d’Oeuvre Immigrée) are denounced as criminals.

Joseph Boczov, whose real name was Ferenz Wolf, was a chemical engineer. He founded and led the 4th detachment of the FTP-MOI charged with derailing trains carrying the SS and the Wehrmacht… He was executed by firing squad at Mont Valerian on February 21, 1944. He was 38 years old.

Olga Bancic, a factory worker, located the targets and helped with the transport of weapons for the FTP-MOI. Deported to Germany, she was beheaded by axe by the Nazis in Stuttgart on May 10th, 1944, on her 32nd birthday. She was the mother of Dolorès, a 5-year-old little girl.

They had each traveled to France on foot from Romania. Joseph, to join the International Brigades in order to help Spanish Republicans in their struggle against Franco. Olga, to flee oppression and join the fight in France, the homeland of Human Rights. Both were from Jewish families, and both were supporters of Ana Pauker, a leader of the Romanian Communist party, believing that communism would bring peace to Romania.

From Romania to France, via Spain, the lives of Joseph Boczov and Olga Bancic are a real epic tale. Viviane Janouin-Benanti breathes life into two extraordinary characters in this thrilling novel.