Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Danielle Perini-Casanova (1909-1943)

Vincentelli Perini (aka Danielle Casanova) was born  on 9 January 1909. She trained at the Paris Dental School where she discovered the Federal Union of Students. There she met her future husband, Laurent Casanova.

She joined the Communist Youth in 1928 and soon began to call herself "Danielle". In June 1932 she joined the Central Committee of the movement at the Seventh Congress of June 1932, and took up its direction in February 1934 where she was the only woman.

After the French Communist Youth was banned in September 1939, Danielle went into hiding. She wrote for the newspaper Le Trait de l'Union. From October 1940, after the fall of France, she helped set up women's committees in the Paris region, while still writing for the underground press, especially Pensée Libre (Free Thought). She also founded la Voix des Femmes (Women's Voice).

Danielle organized demonstrations against the occupying forces, notably the events of 8 & 11 November 1940 - the result of Professor Paul Langevin's arrest. On 2 August 1941 she met Albert Ouzoulias in Montparnasse and placed him in charge of the Bataillons de la Jeunesse, fighting groups that were being created by the Jeunesses Communistes.

The French Police arrested Danielle on 15 February 1942 while she was aiding Georges Politzer and his wife. On 24 January 1943 she was put on the Convoi des 31000 and transported to Auschwitz, where she was put to work as a dentist in the camp's infirmary. She helped other women from the Convoi by introducing them as doctors and nurses. To her death in Auschwitz on 9 May 1943, Danielle continued campaigning and organizing clandestine publications and events.

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