Olga Benário Prestes is an extraordinary- but not broadly known- case of a Brazilian communist hero. Olga was born in Munich, Germany as Olga Gutmann Benário, to a Jewish family. At the age of 15, In 1923, she joined the Communist Youth International and in 1928 she helped her husband and comrade Otto Braun's escape from Moabit prison. She went to Czechoslovakia and from there, reunited with Braun, to Moscow. As an active figure of the Communist Youth International, Olga undertakes several missions; in one of these she was briefly arrested in Britain accussed as a spy.
In 1934 she was tasked with helping the return to Brazil of Luís Carlos Prestes, the leader of the Communist Party of Brazil, to whom she was assigned as a bodyguard. In order to accomplish this mission, false papers were created stating that they were a Portuguese married couple. After a failed insurrection in November 1935, Benário and her husband went into hiding, and after barely escaping a police raid at Ipanema, they were both eventually arrested in January 1936, during the harsh anti-communist campaign declared after dictator Getúlio Vargas had proclaimed martial law and was already plotting the 1937 coup that would eventually lead to the institution of the fascist-like Estado Novo régime.