Born Elisabeth Ricol in France in 1916 to Spanish parents, she joined the Communist Party young and moved to Moscow where she met Czech communist Arthur London.
She married London before joining the International Brigades in civil war-era Spain and then the World War II resistance in France. She was arrested and sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp in 1942.
After the war, she lived in Czechoslovakia with her husband who became deputy foreign minister in a Soviet-backed government. However, he fell from grace and was arrested in 1951 and had to face a Stalinist show trial.
Arthur London was freed in 1956 and sought refuge in France, where he wrote “The Confession” about his arrest, interrogation and torture in Czechoslovakia.
The book was published in 1968, the year of the Prague Spring uprising against Soviet authority, and made into a renowned film of the same name by director Constantin Costa-Gavras in 1970.
Arthur London died in 1986. His widow remained loyal to the French Communist Party, while criticising “Stalin’s leading astray of Socialism.”
French Communist Party secretary general Pierre Laurent on Sunday paid homage to her “Communist engagement” and “her resistance to Stalinist madness”.