Artur London was born to a Jewish family in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He joined the Communist Party as a teenager and was imprisoned for revolutionary activities. In 1934 in Moscow, he met and married Lise (née Elisabeth Ricol), a young French Communist. The couple went to Spain together to fight with the International Brigades for the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War. When the Republic was defeated, they fled to Paris. After the German invasion of France in World War II, they joined the French Resistance. London was caught in 1942 and deported to the Nazi concentration camp at Mauthausen. He survived and was reunited after the war with his wife and children. They moved to Prague, where he became deputy foreign minister in 1948. However, after only a few years, he fell from political favor; he was arrested and made a co-defendant in the infamous Slánský show trial, during which he was sentenced to life in prison. He was released in 1953 following the death of Stalin, and the family returned to Paris. In 1963, he published Espagne, a book about his experiences in the Spanish Civil War. With Lise, he wrote L'Aveu (1968; English translation, The Confession), an account of his ordeal during his trial and imprisonment, based on notes they had smuggled out of prison. It was made into a French film in 1970.