Christine Granville

Christine Granville

Christine Granville, die dogter van graaf Jerzy Skarbek, is net voor die Eerste Wêreldoorlog in Pole gebore. Christine, wat privaat opgelei is, trou in November 1938 in Warskou met Jerzy Gizycki.

Die egpaar was in Addis Abeba toe Pole op 1 September 1939 deur die Duitse leër binnegeval is. Hulle het in Engeland gaan bly, maar Christine wou betrokke raak by die stryd om Poolse vryheid. Christine vestig hom uiteindelik in Hongarye en hervat kontak met Andrezej Kowerski, 'n vriend uit Pole.

Gedurende die volgende paar maande het Granville en Kowerski kontak gemaak met 'n netwerk genaamd die Musketiers wat betrokke was by spioenasie en sabotasie in Pole. Christine is gearresteer op die Slowaaks-Poolse grens en in Hongarye, maar by beide geleenthede het sy daarin geslaag om te ontsnap. Sy het ook inligting aan die Britse regering verskaf oor troepebewegings wat Winston Churchill in staat gestel het om die inval van die Sowjetunie deur die Duitse leër in Junie 1941 te voorspel.

Christine en Andrzej Kowerski is uiteindelik deur die Special Operations Executive (SOE) gewerf. Op 6 Julie 1944 word sy in die besette Frankryk neergelê, waar sy by Francis Cammaerts, hoof van die Jockey Network in die suidooste van Frankryk, aangesluit het. Sy vervang Cecily Lefort wat pas deur die Gestapo gearresteer is.

Op 11 Augustus 1944 is Cammaerts en Xan Fielding gevange geneem terwyl hulle van Apt na Seyne gereis het. Hulle is na die Gestapo -hoofkwartier in Digne geneem. Drie dae later het die Geallieerdes in die suide van Frankryk begin land. Uit vrees dat die mans geskiet sou word voor die aankoms van Britse soldate, het Christine na Albert Schenck, die skakelbeampte tussen die Franse prefektuur en die Gestapo, gegaan. Sy het aan Schenck gesê dat die Maquis weet van die arrestasies en dat hy sou doodmaak tensy hy die mans vrygelaat het. Schenck het geweet dat dit slegs 'n kwessie van dae was voordat die Duitsers deur die Geallieerdes oorval sou word. Hy het egter nie die mag gehad om hulle vry te laat nie, maar hy het Max Waem gekontak en na die betaling van twee miljoen frank het die mans hul vryheid gekry.

Na die oorlog werk Christine as 'n telefoniste by India House, 'n verkoopster by Harrods en as stewardess op die linies Rauhine en die Winchester Castle. Terwyl sy aan voerings werk, ontmoet sy George Muldowney, 'n badkamer -rentmeester. Muldowney het op haar verlief geraak. Sy verwerp sy vordering en op 15 Junie 1952 steek hy haar met 'n mes in die hart. Muldowney is tereggestel weens haar moord op 30 September 1952.

Madeleine Masson se biografie, 'N Soektog na Christine Granville is in 1975 deur Hamish Hamilton gepubliseer.

Sedert die militêre ineenstorting van haar eie land, Pole, was sy werksaam by die gevaarlikste missies in ander dele van die besette Europa; en hierdie reputasie van haar het my daartoe gelei dat ek in haar die heroïese eienskappe verwag het wat ek gedink het ek onmiddellik onder haar senuweeagtige gebare en haar asemhaling van spraak verdeel het. Nie dat sy enigsins soos die klassieke opvatting van 'n vroulike spioen lyk nie, alhoewel sy die glans het wat gewoonlik met een geassosieer word; maar dit het sy verkies om te kamoefleer in 'n sober bloes en romp, wat met haar kort, sorgeloos gekamde donker hare en die volledige afwesigheid van grimering op haar fyn gesiggie haar die voorkoms van 'n atletiese kunsstudent gegee het.

Sy was baie mooi, broos, met klein beentjies en fyn gemaak. Sy was baie aantreklik vir mans, maar was nie baie geïnteresseerd in vroue nie. Sy het gereeld verdwyn, maar sy het ons altyd vertel waar sy was. Sy was vriendelik en intelligent en het dit gehaat om mense seer te maak. Dit sou uiteindelik haar ongedaanmaak wees. Sy is gesmoor deur 'n gewone lewensklimaat. Toe ek dapperheid met haar bespreek het, het sy gelag en gesê dat as sy in die veld was en daar 'n krisis was, sy oor die algemeen te besig was om bang te wees. Sy was 'n uiters praktiese soldaat.

Toe Christine van die inhegtenisneming hoor, vertrek sy onmiddellik na die Digne -gevangenis. 'N Bejaarde en vriendelike gendarme, wat sy genader het met 'n versoek dat sy toegelaat word om 'n paar noodsaaklikhede na haar man in die gevangenis te bring, het haar in aanraking gebring met 'n Elsasser met die naam Albert Schenck, wat as 'n soort skakelbeampte tussen die Franse gedien het prefektuur en die Duitse Sicherheitsdienst. Aan Schenck het Christine aangekondig dat sy nie net 'n Britse agent was nie, maar ook die vrou van Cammaert. Generaal Montgomery se niggie. Die les wat sy uit haar verhouding met admiraal Horthy geleer het, is nie vergeet nie. Sy het ook gesê dat aangesien Geallieerde magte nou in Suid -Frankryk geland het, dit baie in die belang van Schenck sou wees om die vrylating van Cammaerts en sy medegevangenes te verseker. Schenck het vir Christine gesê dat hy self niks anders kon doen nie, maar dat daar 'n Belg was met die naam Max Waem wat meer gesag het en moontlik bereid sou wees om te help. Hy het nie gedink dat Waem sou belangstel in enige transaksie wat hom minder as twee miljoen frank oplewer nie.

Christine Granville wat uit eie wil die doodstraf in gevaar gestel het, moes die verantwoordelikheid byna onvolhoubaar gewees het. Want afgesien van die oorweging van persoonlike moed, moes sy ook besluit of haar optrede uit die SOE -oogpunt heeltemal toelaatbaar was. As individu sou sy nie huiwer om haar lewe vir die lewens van drie ander te ruil nie. As agent was sy egter verplig om die waarde van daardie lewens teenoor haar te beoordeel; en as haar hare meer werd was, was dit haar plig om dit te behou.

In die beoordeling wat sy gemaak het, was dit Francis Cammaerts se lewe wat die weegskaal geweeg het ten gunste van die besluit. As Francis Cammaerts nie saam met ons gearresteer is nie, sou Christine volkome geregverdig gewees het om nie op te tree as aksie beteken om haarself in gevaar te stel nie. Indirek is ek my lewe dan ook aan hom verskuldig net soos ek, direk aan haar.

Christine was 'n baie ongewone vrou. Sy was baie dapper, baie aantreklik, maar 'n alleenloper en 'n wet vir haarself. Sy was volkome lojaal en toegewyd aan die Geallieerdes, en niks sou haar haar vertroue laat verraai het nie. Na die oorlog kon sy haarself nie aanpas by 'n vervelige daaglikse werkroetine nie. Sy het geleef vir aksie en avontuur. Moenie haar verminder deur haar foute wit te was nie. Sy was geen gipsheilige nie. Sy was 'n lewensbelangrike, gesonde, pragtige dier met 'n groot aptyt vir liefde en lag, en sy het 'n geweldige lef gehad.

Dit is onmoontlik om 'n boek te lees oor iemand wat u goed ken sonder om die reaksies van die onderwerp op die boek en die behandeling daarvan voor te stel. Ek glo dat vriende van Christine saamstem dat haar reaksie hierop en op enige boek oor haar 'n uitbarsting van 'n bespotlike lag sou wees; "'n boek oor my, hoe belaglik, waaroor gaan die bohaai?" Sy sou beslis beweer het dat daar baie ander interessanter en belangriker mense is wat baie bly sou wees om boeke daaroor te laat skryf, so hoekom sou sy dit aan haar toedink? Sy wou nie geken word nie, of bewonder word as 'n persoon wat tydens die oorlog baie dapper dinge gedoen het, maar dat sy self geken en waardeer sou word.

Ek twyfel nie daaraan dat Christine, omdat hierdie boek deur baie mense gelees sal word vanweë die verband met die oorlog, sou voel terwyl ek dit doen om die aandag op 'n individu of op individue te vestig, wat 'n onvermydelike verdraaiing van die waarheid veroorsaak. Om van dag tot dag te leef en te sukkel in 'n gemeenskap waar totale onderlinge afhanklikheid die kern van die alledaagse lewe was, kan die uitsondering van individue nie 'n beeld gee van die werklikheid nie. Individuele agente in Frankryk of in Pole was vir elke maaltyd en elke nagrus afhanklik van mense wie se klein kinders, bejaarde ouers, eiendom en lewensonderhoud voortdurend deur ons teenwoordigheid bedreig word. Hulle bydrae behels 'n veel groter opoffering as ons s'n.


Christine Granville, Churchill se gunsteling spioen, word in Londen vereer

'N Poolse gravin Krystyna Skarbek moet vereer word vir haar oorlogstydperke deur 'n brons -borsbeeld te laat onthul by die Polish Hearth Club in Londen. Skarbek was so kwaad oor die Duitse inval in haar vaderland dat sy na Engeland gereis het en geëis het dat die geheime diens haar in diens sou neem, wat hulle onder die nom de plume gedoen het, Christine Granville. Sy was die eerste en die langste diens van die vroulike agente wat tydens die oorlog gebruik is, maar haar behandeling deur die owerhede na die oorlog was skandelik, om die minste te sê.

Besonderhede van haar voordele en die verstommende werk wat sy tydens die Tweede Wêreldoorlog vir die Geallieerdes gedoen het, sou vir ewig verlore gegaan het as dit nie was vir die skryweres Clare Mulley wat 'n biografie van hierdie wonderlike vroue geskryf het en dit onder die titel gepubliseer het nie "The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives van Christine Granville"In 2013.

Mulley het in 'n onderhoud met The Guardian gesê:Sy was 'n merkwaardige vrou, dit is belaglik dat sy nie beter bekend is nie. Dit beteken niks van al die ander vroue en mans wat gedien het nie; al hul verhale is fantasties, maar haar verhaal is ongelooflik, en sy is net nie vereer soos sy moes nie.”

Die lys van haar prestasies tydens die oorlog is lank en duidelik.

Sy het daarin geslaag om die eerste bewyse in die vorm van mikrofilmbeeldmateriaal van die Duitse planne, met die kodenaam Operasie Barbarossa, te bekom om Rusland binne te val. Sy het die mikrofilm in die vinger van haar handskoene weggesteek en daarna uit Pole geski met die planne tot by die Geallieerdes. Hierdie inligting het op die lessenaar van Winston Churchill gekom, en hy het 'n vurige bewonderaar geword wat volgens sy dogter Sarah Granville 'sy gunsteling spioen' genoem het.

Die spesiale operasionele bestuurder het haar in 1944 na Frankryk gestuur as deel van 'n spesialis -span wat aangewys is om die weg voor die bevryding van Europa voor te berei. Sy het baie gereis en die eerste kontak gemaak met die Franse verset en die Italiaanse partisane. Sy het toe self 'n hele Duitse garnisoen oortuig wat 'n strategiese alpinpas beskerm om oor te gee.

Kort daarna verneem sy dat een van haar SOE -kollegas saam met twee Franse versetstryders deur die Duitsers gearresteer is en dat die Gestapo planne het om die drie mans tereg te stel. Sy het probeer om 'n redding te reël wat onsuksesvol was, en daarom het sy op haar fiets gegaan om die 25 myl na die kamp te ry. Daar het sy die Gestapo oortuig, met oordrewe bewerings van hoe naby die Geallieerde magte was, en dat sy persoonlik sou reël dat die Gestapo -offisiere geskiet word as die drie mans nie onmiddellik vrygelaat word nie.

Tydens die oorlog is haar baie medaljes toegeken, waaronder die Franse Croix de Guerre, die UGO en die George -medalje, maar dit beteken niks toe die einde van die oorlog aanbreek nie, en sy is deur die Britte weggegooi. In haar lêer by die National Archives is 'n verdoemende bewys 'n stuk papier wat sê 'sy word nie meer gesoek nie.' dit was onder Sowjet -beheer.

Uiteindelik het sy die Britse owerheid oortuig om haar Britse burgerskap te verleen, maar sy was amper arm. Die enigste werk wat sy kon kry, was as 'n skoonmaker op passasiersvoertuie, en toe die kaptein al die personeel aanmoedig om hul medaljes te dra, sou niemand glo dat sy elke bors vol verdien het wat sy vertoon het nie. Die enigste lid van die bemanning wat geglo het dat sy haar medaljes verdien het, was 'n mede -rentmeester, Dennis Muldowney, met wie sy 'n verhouding gehad het.

Die verhouding met Muldowney het misluk, maar hy kon haar verwerping nie aanvaar nie, en hy het haar begin agtervolg. Op 15 Junie 1952 in die Shelbourne -hotel het Muldowney haar 'n gruwelike dood gesteek vir 'n baie dapper dame.

Clare Mulley se man, die bekende kunstenaar Ian Wolter, het die borsbeeld van Skarbek geskep. As 'n huldeblyk aan haar erfenis gebruik hy grond uit Pole en grond uit 'n park in Londen wat tydens die Tweede Wêreldoorlog gebruik is om Poolse agente in die borsbeeld op te lei. Die borsbeeld is by die Polish Hearth Club geplaas, want dit is waar Skarbek verhale van haar misdade tydens die oorlog met mede -Poolse vlugtelinge sou vertel, berig The Guardian.

Die filmregte op Clare Mulley se boek is verkoop, en gerugte is dat Angelina Jolie belangstel om dit as 'n projek op te tel. Mulley is hoopvol dat dit suksesvol sal ontwikkel en sê:Gekruisde vingers ... Ek wil 'n waardige, briljante film hê.


Tweede Wêreldoorlog databasis


ww2dbase Christine Granville, gebore as Krystyna Skarbek, was een van die mees glansryke en suksesvolle van die vroulike agente wat in diens was van die UK's Special Operations Executive (SOE). 'N Kort, gerugte verhouding met die skrywer Ian Fleming kort na die oorlog het tot bespiegelings gelei dat sy die inspirasie verskaf het vir sommige van die vroeë "Bond Girls. "

ww2dbase Krystyna Skarbek was die dogter van Jerzy Skarbek, 'n Poolse edelman, en Stefania Goldfeder, wie se gesekulariseerde Joodse familie onder die rykste bankiers van Pole was. Krystyna se ouers het die hoë lewe geleef in die Jazz Age Warschau en hul dogter het die beste van alles gehad. Soos die meeste aristokratiese Poolse vroue, het sy grootgeword met nie net deportasie-, Frans- en klavierlesse nie, maar ook leer perdry en ski. Aangemoedig deur 'n toegeeflike vader, het Skarbek iets van 'n tomboy geword, hoewel 'n nogal glansryke een. Op negentienjarige ouderdom neem sy die tweede plek in 'n nasionale skoonheidskompetisie. Haar grootste passie was egter risiko's, insluitend gevaarlike skipiste en vinnige motors. Toe die depressie egter tref, het haar playboy -pa sy fortuin grootliks uitgeput en Skarbek moes noodgedwonge as sekretaris in 'n motorhandelaar werk. Kort daarna ontmoet sy, trou en tree gou uit 'n ryk, ouer sakeman. Die egskeidingsooreenkoms het haar 'n vaste inkomste gegee om die lewe op haar eie voorwaardes te geniet. In 1938 trou sy met Jerzy Gizycki. Gizycki, wat aansienlik ouer as Skarbek was, was 'n lewenslange avonturier en reisiger, werk as 'n cowboy, goudzoeker, ontdekkingsreisiger en selfs as 'n Hollywood -ekstra. Kort daarna word Gizycki aangewys as Poolse konsul in Kenia en Oos -Afrika en die egpaar verhuis na Nairobi.

ww2dbase Toe die oorlog uitbreek, is Skarbek en haar man na Londen, waar sy vrywillig hulp verleen het om Britse geheime dienste te help en 'n fantastiese plan voor te stel om na die neutrale Hongarye te reis en dan oor die Karpate te gaan ski om inligting uit te bring en Pools vrywilligers om in die Weste te veg. Om redes wat nog onduidelik is, moontlik met betrekking tot haar man se vooroorlogse verbintenisse met Britse intelligensie, is die skema goedgekeur en teen Desember was sy in Boedapest. Daar ontmoet sy Andrzej Kowerski, eenvoetige, verspringende en versierde Poolse tenkoffisier, wat reeds 'n ontsnappingsroete vir Poolse soldate bestuur het. Hoewel Hongaar se tradisionele vriendskap met Pole destyds al hoe meer gekoppel was aan Duitsland, het Hongaarse amptenare hul oë op sulke aktiwiteite laat draai. Skarbek het saam met Kowerski begin werk en die twee het geliefdes geword.

ww2dbase In Februarie 1940 onderneem sy die eerste van 'n aantal reise oor die Tatraberge tydens ski's tydens een van die ergste winters wat op rekord was, met dokumente vir die Poolse verset en dra terug met inligting oor Duitse aktiwiteite. Op haar laaste reis uit Pole het sy mikrofilmde dokumente saamgevat met inligting oor Duitse voorbereidings om die Sowjetunie binne te val. Terwyl hy in Warskou was, het Skarbek ook kontak gemaak met 'n versetsgroep wat bekend staan ​​as die Musketiers. Hierdie onafhanklike groep werk buite die beheer van die Poolse ondergrondse owerhede wat hul eie intelligensie -selle gehad het. Alhoewel die Musketiers 'n paar waardevolle intelligensie aan die Geallieerdes sou verskaf, het hulle leiers ook kontak met hulle gehad Abwehr (Duitse militêre intelligensie) en Poolse geheime dienste het vermoed dat die groep geïnfiltreer is. Vroeg in 1941 het Hongarye toenemend onder Duitse beheer gekom en die Nazi's het ontsnaproetes oor die Karpate vasgekeer. Toe Duitse agente toesluit, word Skarbek en Kowerski beveel om na Belgrado te vertrek. Om hulle te help ontsnap, kry hulle Britse paspoorte en nuwe name. Skarbek het nou "Christine Granville " 'n naam geword wat sy vir die res van haar lewe aangeneem en behou het.

ww2dbase Granville het haarself in Egipte bevind, maar kon weens politiese vermoedens dat sy 'n dubbele agent was, nie langer as intelligensie -agent werk nie. Haar kontak met die Musketiers het haar vermoë om met die Pole te werk in gedrang te bring, en sou voortaan uitsluitlik met die Britte saamwerk.

ww2dbase Omdat sy in 1944 vlot Frans gepraat het, val sy in 'n valskerm in die suide van Frankryk om by SOE -operasies aan te sluit ter ondersteuning van die Franse weerstandsmagte. Duitse troepe langs die Frans-Italiaanse grens was dikwels magte van die tweede of derde lyn en 'n aantal garnisoene het bestaan ​​uit Pole of Russe wat uit arbeidskampe ingeroep isvolksdeutsch" in die weste van Pole. Namate die geallieerde magte Frankryk binnedring, het die betroubaarheid van hierdie magte steeds groter geword. In Augustus het sy kontak gemaak met 'n groep sulke troepe wat 'n grenspos by Col-de-Larche beman en hulle oortuig om na die Franse partisane te gaan. Die Duitse offisiere van die eenheid was byna sonder soldate en het op 13 Augustus ingestem om oor te gee.

ww2dbase Op dieselfde dag het Granville geleer dat die streekbevelvoerder van die SOE (en haar geliefde soms), luitenant -kolonel Francis Cammaerts en twee medewerkers deur die Gestapo gearresteer en as spioene ter dood veroordeel is. Granville gereis na Gestapo hoofkwartier en Digne en in die Elsas gebore Gestapo man Albert Schenck. Granville, wat voorgegee het dat sy die vrou van Cammaerts is en die niggie van die Britse veldmaarskalk Bernard Montgomery, het Schenck en 'n mede -oortuiger oortuig Gestapo man uit België dat die geallieerde magte nader kom en binnekort die streek bevry sal word. In die geval sou Franse en Belgies gebore medewerkers onderhewig wees aan geregtigheid, soos reeds elders in dele van bevryde Frankryk gebeur het. Saam met 'n beursie goue muntstukke en die belofte van veilige gedrag as hulle hulle aan die geallieerde owerhede oorgee, het die twee toenemend bang Gestapo -manne hul waardevolle gevangenes vrygelaat en selfs gehelp om hulle uit die stad te verdryf in 'n Gestapo voertuig.

ww2dbase Granville sou vir haar prestasies die George -medalje ontvang en word hy 'n beampte in die Orde van die Britse Ryk. Frankryk sou haar toeken met die Croix de Guerre. Toe die oorlog geëindig het, kon Granville egter nie na Pole terugkeer nie. Die liefde vir risiko en gevaar wat haar uitbuiting tydens die oorlog aangewakker het, het min plek in die na-oorlogse wêreld gehad en Britse owerhede het die ballingskap van die ballinge soos Granville gepla. Alhoewel hy Britse burgerskap verleen het, het Granville tussen werk en verhoudings gedryf, insluitend om aan boord van 'n vaartuig te werk. Terwyl sy op see werk, het sy 'n verhouding aangegaan met 'n aantreklike, maar ontsteld rentmeester, Dennis Muldowney. Na 'n kort rukkie het sy haar werk verlaat en haar verhouding met die steeds obsessiewe Muldowney verbreek. Op 15 Junie 1952 het hy Granville in haar gehuurde woonstel in Londen gekonfronteer en na 'n kort woordewisseling haar dood gesteek. Granville was 44.

ww2dbase Bronne:
Clare Mulley, The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives van Christine Granville (New York: St. Martin 's, 2012).
Madeline Masson, Christine: Churchill se gunsteling agent en SOE Spy (Londen: Virago, 2005).
"Polse spioen Krystyna Skarbek onthou, " 10 Mei 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-22482926

Laaste groot hersiening: Maart 2017

Christine Granville Tydlyn

1 Mei 1908 Krystyna Skarbek is gebore in Warskou, Warskou, Rusland.
15 Junie 1952 Christine Granville is vermoor deur Dennis Muldowney in Londen, Engeland, Verenigde Koninkryk.

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Christine se liefhebbers

Christine het voluit gelewe. Sy was mal oor gevaar en opwinding en sy het ook die meeste uit haar liefdeslewe geput. Sy het sake gehad met verskeie van die agente waarmee sy gewerk het en is deur baie van hulle bewonder. Inderdaad, nadat haar verskeie van haar geliefdes bymekaargekom het om haar geheue en reputasie te beskerm.

Sodra die pers ontdek het wie die vermoorde vrou is, 'n gravin, 'n oorlogspioen en 'n voormalige skoonheidskoningin, skryf die meeste simpatiek oor haar gewelddadige einde. Maar sommige koerante soek na skandalige aspekte in die wete dat sy deur 'n jaloerse minnaar vermoor is.


Spesiale agent Christine Granville – ‘Die spioen wat lief was vir … ’

Op hierdie dag in 1939, net 'n paar maande na die Nazi -inval in Pole wat die begin van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog was, het 'n vasberade Poolse gravin en voormalige skoonheidskoningin na die Britse geheime diens se hoofkwartier ingestap en geëis dat hulle op 'n aktiewe sending gestuur moes word. 'Sy is 'n vlammende Poolse patriot, 'n kundige skiër en 'n groot avontuurlustige,' het die geskrikte Britse offisier gesê: 'Ek glo regtig ons het 'n PRYS'.

Gravin Krystyna Skarbek is nou beter bekend in Brittanje onder haar aangenome naam, Christine Granville, waarvan sy later 'nogal trots' was. Toe sy vir diens diens doen, was sy reeds op haar tweede man en derde naam, Krystyna Gizycka, en sy was op papier bekend as 'Madame G'. Teen die einde van die oorlog het sy deur baie meer identiteite gegaan, van haar eerste alias, mev Marchand, waaronder sy in Desember 1939 na Hongarye gestuur is, tot die 'toegelate lasterlike' kodenaam wat die Britte haar in Kaïro gegee het, ' Willing ', wat hardop gepraat het oor Christine se manier om inligting in te win, en die manlike Britse sin vir humor van destyds.

Christine was die eerste vrou wat tydens die oorlog as 'n spesiale agent vir die Britte gewerk het. Ondanks die lewensverwagting van slegs 'n paar maande tydens die operasie, was sy ook die langste vroulike agent van Brittanje, aktief in drie verskillende teaters van die oorlog. Vir haar uitstekende moed en groot bydrae tot die Geallieerde oorlogspoging, is sy vereer met die UGO, die George -medalje en die Franse Croix de Guerre, asook 'n verskeidenheid dienslintjies wat enige generaal trots sou gemaak het. En tog, as vrou, was Christine nie in aanmerking vir Britse militêre eer nie, en moes hulle hul burgerlike ekwivalent aanvaar - iets wat haar en baie van haar vroulike kollegas woedend gemaak het, waarvan een in afsku geskryf het dat daar 'niks op afstand burgerlik' was oor wat hulle gedoen het.

Alhoewel Christine gedurende die konflik saam met mans opgelei en diens gedoen het, het haar geslag altyd haar ervaring van die oorlog ingelig. Sy was in Suider-Afrika toe Pole binnegeval is, en toe haar skip Europa bereik, was haar tuisland beset. Christine was nie in staat om aan te meld om saam met haar landgenote te veg nie, en was vasbeslote om Brittanje te laat steun aan haar plan om oor die gevaarlike Karpaten te ski, wat geld en propaganda na die Poolse verset bring, en inligting - oor mikrofilm wat in haar handskoene versteek is - terug. Op hierdie stadium het die geheime dienste slegs deur die Old Boys -netwerk gewerf, maar Christine het kontakte in hierdie groep gehad en dit vinnig met goeie gevolg gebruik. Geen ander vroue sou vir nog twee jaar aangeneem word nie. Christine se kombinasie van onafhanklikheid, vasberadenheid en sjarme het haar die kontak gegee wat sy nodig gehad het in Brittanje, Hongarye en Pole, maar dit was haar geslag wat verseker het dat sy minder opvallend sou reis om 'n besette land as enige man met 'n gesonde liggaam. haar die werk. Christine was besonders.

Christine het die volgende jaar vier keer na die besette Pole gegaan en inligting teruggebring wat soms die verloop van die oorlog kon verander, en het gehelp om duisende Poolse en ander geallieerde offisiere te 'eksfiltreer' om die geveg oorsee voort te sit. Toe die geleentheid dit vereis, was sy vinnig om haar vroulikheid ten goede te benut, toe sy 'n Wehrmacht-offisier bekoor het om haar pakkie 'swartmarkte', in werklikheid inkriminerende dokumente, deur 'n veiligheidskontrole te dra. Sy het ook gelukkig gehou met die room van die Poolse en Britse geheime dienste in elke land wat sy oorsteek, waarvan baie later die 'betowerende mag' wat sy oor mans gehad het, beskryf het.

Maar Christine het ook haar kontakte, taalvaardighede, kreatiewe glans en blote moed ten volle aangewend om haar missies te onderneem en om nie net haar eie lewe te red nie, maar ook die lewens van verskeie mede -offisiere en agente. Toe sy in Hongarye ondervra is, het sy tuberkulose gemaak deur haar tong so vas te byt dat dit lyk asof sy bloed ophoes totdat sy en 'n landgenoot uitgegooi is. By 'n ander geleentheid, in die besette Frankryk, het sy die Gestapo -hoofkwartier binnegegaan en geëis dat drie kollegas vrygelaat moes word enkele ure voordat hulle geskiet sou word. Deur 'n kombinasie van omkopery en bravade oor die 'naderende' benadering van die geallieerde magte te red, het sy die lewens van die mans gered en saam met hulle die verset help koördineer voor die geallieerde bevryding van die suide van Frankryk.

Aan die einde van die oorlog, in Mei 1945, is Christine met slegs £ 100 ontslaan. 'N Britse memo het eenvoudig gesê:' sy word nie meer gesoek nie '. As 'n aristokraat en voormalige Britse agent, het Christine geweet dat sy nie na die naoorlogse kommunistiese Pole kon terugkeer nie. Maar as 'n Pool en 'n vrou was dit gou duidelik dat sy ook nie baie welkom was in Brittanje nie. Die eienskappe wat haar tydens die oorlog so waardevol as agent gemaak het, is nie meer waardeer by vroue tydens die vrede nie. Sonder sekretariële vaardighede was sy moeilik om te plaas, memo's kreun, en daar word gou na haar verwys as 'hierdie meisie', terwyl haar aansoeke om voortgesette werk as ''n kopseer' van die hand gewys is. Die land wat Christine in diens geneem het om haar lewe in drie verskillende oorlogs -teaters in gevaar te stel, het haar nou net met opregtheid burgerskap gegee en versuim om werk te lewer wat haar diens en vermoëns waardig was.

In 1952, na sewe jaar se werk in Londen en as stewardess op verskeie passasierskepe, is Christine deur 'n verwerpte minnaar doodgesteek. Dit was 'n patetiese einde vir so 'n buitengewone vrou. Alhoewel baie min spesiale agente vermoor is weens liefde, ten minste buite romans, moet Christine nie onthou word as 'n tragies romantiese figuur nie. Vandag word vroue in die verset maar al te dikwels in sulke terme gesien. Miskien is die bekendste vroulike spesiale agent die heldin van Sebastian Faulks, Charlotte Gray, en sy is nie net fiktief nie, maar bereik baie min. Selfs die bekendste ware verhale, van Violette Szabo en Odette Samson, vier uitstekende moed en opoffering eerder as beduidende prestasie. As my nuwe biografie van Christine iets bydra, hoop ek dat dit die rol, gebruik en misbruik van Pole tydens die oorlog sal beklemtoon en die siening oor die doeltreffendheid van Britse vroulike agente sal herbalanseer.


VERWANTE ARTIKELS

Maar in haar oorlogstydperke was vernietiging nooit ver van Christine se gedagtes - of haar optrede nie.

Sy het altyd 'n mes om haar dy gehou, sodat sy te eniger tyd gereed was vir aksie.

Christine, 'n boorling van Pole, gebore as Krystyna Skarbek, het in 1939 as vrywilliger gewerk nadat haar vaderland die Nazi's te beurt geval het.

Sy was ingeskryf vir wat destyds bekend was as 'Afdeling D' - kort vir vernietiging - wat later die Spesiale Operasie Uitvoerende Bestuur (SOE) sou word, wat spioenasie-, verkennings- en sabotasie -missies in besette gebiede onderneem het.

Die jong spioen het die voornaam Christine Granville gekry, wat sy permanent na die oorlog aangeneem het.

Sy is eers gestuur op missies tussen Hongarye - toe neutraal - en beset Pole, waar sy bewys het dat sy sterk was as 'n intelligensie -koerier, snags ski om grenspatrollies te vermy by temperature van -30 Celsius.

Christine poseer in die wrak van 'n brug wat sy en die Franse verset pas in die suide van Frankryk opgeblaas het

Christine, wat opgelei is in plofstof, gewere en stille moord, poseer saam met 'n lid van die verset ná hul suksesvolle missie

Christine poseer in Augustus 1944 as 'n versetlid in die Haut-Savoie-streek van Frankryk

WAS CHRISTINE CHURCHILL se gunsteling spioen?

Hierdie verhale van waagmoed in Frankryk het Christine moontlik die eer gewen om Winston Churchill se gunsteling spioen te wees.

Alhoewel die Eerste Minister van die oorlog nog nie op rekord was nie, het sy aktrise se dogter, Sarah Churchill, die onthulling gemaak toe sy voorberei het om Christine te speel in 'n filmweergawe van haar prestasies - wat ongelukkig opgehef is.

Mev. Churchill beweer haar pa was mal oor die verhale van Christine se misdade terwyl sy met joernaliste in 'n publisiteitskring vir die film gepraat het - nie lank na haar gewelddadige dood in 1952 in Londen nie.

Die film is later gekanselleer as 'n teken van respek vir Christine.

'N Komitee van veterane wat saam met haar diens gedoen het, baie van hulle was voormalige geliefdes, het versoek dat die produksie gestaak word, moontlik omdat hulle gedink het dat besonderhede van haar onstuimige liefdeslewe haar reputasie sou benadeel as dit algemeen bekend was.

Maar sowel as haar prestasies van fisieke waagmoed het Christine 'n groot hoeveelheid bravade en listigheid in die gesig van die vyand getoon en uit die onmoontlikste situasies gewikkel.

By 'n geleentheid het sy 'n Gestapo -beampte mislei om vir haar Britse propaganda na Pole te vervoer deur te maak asof die smokkelverpakking tee vir haar siek ma op die swart mark gekoop is - en so verleë glimlag dat hy haar ongetwyfeld kon help om dit oor te smokkel.

In 'n ander, skrikwekkender beproewing het sy en 'n Poolse weermagoffisier, Andrzej Kowerski, deur Gestapo gevang en marteling en die dood teëgekom as hulle vyandelike agente was.

Sy het daarin geslaag om albei hul vryhede te wen deur haar tong so vas te byt dat dit bloei, en dan asof sy die bloed ophoes, wat haar gevangenes oortuig het dat sy en haar medepligtige aan tuberkulose siek is.

Die verskrikte Gestapo -beamptes het albei vrygelaat om die verwoestende siekte te vermy.

Maar miskien is haar grootste uitbuiting, onthul deur die koerante wat by die Imperial War Museum ingedien is, kort voordat die Geallieerdes in 1944 hul laaste poging tot Frankryk gemaak het.

Christine, vloeiend Frans, is gestuur om die versetpoging in die suide van Frankryk te koördineer voor die geallieerde inval.

Sy was die tweede in bevel van Francis Cammaerts, 'n opkomende ster in die SOE, wat verantwoordelik was vir die Britse skakeling met weerstandselle in die gebied.

Christine - 'n kenmerkend passievolle vrou met baie liefhebbers - het ook vir Cammaerts geval terwyl hulle saam teen die Nazi's geveg het.

'N Vertroulike verslag wat Christine ingedien het en jare lank weggesteek het, onthul egter hoe al hul pogings tot niet kon wees as dit nie was vir 'n brutale reddingspoging wat sy gedoen het toe haar minnaar amper tereggestel is nie.

Cammaerts is saam met twee kollegas gevange geneem toe 'n nie -kenmerkende waaksaam wag by 'n kontrolepunt hul besittings deursoek - en gevind het dat hul banknote opeenvolgende reeksnommers het, wat die voorbladverhaal uitmekaar laat spat dat hulle mekaar nie ken nie.

Hy en sy metgeselle is onmiddellik gearresteer, en alhoewel hulle nie geweet het watter waardevolle bate hulle teen die weerstand teëgekom het nie, het dit weinig verskil gemaak, aangesien die destydse amptelike bevel was dat enigiemand wat vermoedelik 'n vyandelike agent sou wees, tereggestel sou word sonder dat verhoor.

When news was relayed to Christine, she begged local Resistance members to mount a rescue attempt to bust the men out of prison by force.

Recognising it as a suicide mission, Resistance leaders said that it was too risky and that the men would have to be abandoned.

But Christine had already resolved to save them and hatched her own, incredibly reckless plan.

Completely alone, she stormed into the office of the captain of the guards at the prison at which the men were being held, and revealed herself as British agent.

She claimed that the Allied invasion was imminent and that the nearby town of Digne was a prime target which would be bombed - a claim she later described as 'a stab in the dark'. She told the man that the only way he could save himself from a horrible death at the hands of the liberated French was to hand over the prisoners and earn himself a pardon.

Christine was a highly-trained combatant who was deadly with her pistol (left) but preferred silent killing, with her ever-present knife (right) or even bare hands

By an incredible stroke of luck, both of Christine's predictions turned out to be true, which utterly terrified the guard she had spoken to, who arranged for her to meet with his superior - a Gestapo officer. By this time Cammaerts was due to be executed that night.

The Gestapo officer - referred to by Christine as Waem - had his gun trained on her from the start, but was eventually won over by her mixture of charm and brazen lies.

Christine was a highly-decorated agent. She was given many awards, including the the OBE (centre), Croix de Guerre (centre right), George Medal (centre left) and Polish Patriot Shielf (top)

Christine, who pretended Cammaerts was her husband, also claimed to be the niece of General Montgomery and a British aristocrat, and therefore somebody with tremendous political power.

She told Waem that he was in danger of a horrible death at the hands of a French mob when the Allies came, as they knew he was the head of the Gestapo in the area, and chief torturer.

In a three-hour conversation, Christine convinced him that the only way to save his own skin was to free the men - who she identified as vital parts of the British war effort - and so avert an all-out attack on the village by the Allies to free them.

Astonishingly, the gambit worked, and after he had been given several assurances, and a hefty bribe, the man arranged to release Cammaerts and his companions, who went on to be key players in the liberation of France.

It's bravado such as this which fuels rumours that Christine may have been the blueprint for the original Bond girl in Ian Fleming's iconic spy series.

Christine became world news when she died in a West London Hotel in 1952 - killed by a single thrust of the knife by a jealous, jilted lover. Her killer, George Muldowney, was hanged for his crimes, which helped elevate Christine into a legend.

Just one year later, Fleming published Casino Royale, the first James Bond novel. With it came the first Bond girl - a dark-haired and enigmatic European beauty named Vesper Lynd.

Christine's report, pictured, explains the incident in her own words, referring to the men by code-names

Though rumours abound that he and Christine were lovers, there is no evidence the two ever even met. But it is clear that Fleming knew of Christine's exploits in the war, and held her in incredible esteem.

In a series of interviews in the U.S. ahead of Casino Royale's publication, Fleming speaks at length about Christine - the only female agent he mentions - suggesting heavily that she was the prototype who would define the our ideas of the female special agent forever.

Christine Granville is widely believed to be the inspiration for Vesper Lynd, played here by Ursula Andress opposite Peter Sellers's James Bond

But, as those images of the smiling young woman, even in the midst of an invasion, show, there is a tender side to Christine, who still had fears and vulnerabilities despite her huge bravery.

Clare Mulley, who wrote a biography of Christine called The Spy Who Loved, says the images are a revealing window into her life.

After her sudden death, Christine was buried at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cemetery in Kensal Green, London

She said: 'Christine had a certain vulnerability to her. She could be incredibly tough and had this amazing, blunt courage, and would train with the men and ensure she was as tough as any man.

'But she is fairly vulnerable and she does fall in love. My book's called The Spy Who Loved because she loved freedom in its biggest sense - she loves adrenalin and adventures, she loved men - she had numerous lovers and two husbands.

'But most of all she loved freedom, both for her country and for herself personally, and they're very intertwined.

'But she found rejection painful - she would get very exhausted and sit down and cry under trees and have to be shouted at to move on. It's all too easy to see her as this very tough, man-devouring woman.

'She was told she had a life expectancy of six weeks - you're not going to want to waste time, you're going to live your life to the full in that time - but it doesn't mean she didn't have a vulnerable side to her.'

Clare Mulley will give a talk on Christine's life, and female spies more generally, at the Churchill War Rooms on Tuesday 17th September. Tickets are £17 or £13.60 for concessions. Visit www.iwm.org.uk/events for more information.


Krystyna Skarbek, aka Christine Granville – Churchill’s favourite spy, a Polish woman who was Britain's first and longest-serving female special agent during the Second World War. She was also an inspiration of Ian Fleming’s character Vesper Lynd, of the famous James Bond novels.

Christine Granville, born Krystyna Skarbek, was one of the most remarkable secret agents of the Second World War, undertaking many successful missions and using her language skills, powers of persuasion, and sheer courage to save countless lives. She was also Britain’s longest-serving female agent.

Maria Krystyna Janina Skarbek was born in Warsaw on 1 May 1908. Her father was Count Jerzy Skarbek, a Polish aristocrat, while her mother, Stefania Goldfeder, came from a Jewish banking background. She grew up on a grand country estate, where she spent much of her time riding horses, running wild, and learning to use guns and knives. After her father died in 1930 the family moved to Warsaw, where at one point Krystyna took a job in a salesroom above a garage.

Following a short-lived first marriage Krystyna met a Polish diplomat, Count Jerzy Giżycki, on the ski slopes. They married in November 1938, and spent their time travelling and socialising.

POLISH MISSIONS

When Germany invaded Poland the Giżyckis were in southern Africa. Determined to help defend their country, they immediately left for London, where Krystyna engineered a meeting with George Taylor of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). She proposed a fantastical scheme to travel to neutral Hungary, ski over the mountains to Poland and bring out volunteers and information. ‘She is a flaming Polish patriot, an expert skier and great adventuress,’ Taylor reported. ‘I really believe we have a PRIZE.’ He recruited her as the organisation’s first female spy.

From the winter of 1939–40 onwards Krystyna made several journeys in and out of Poland, trekking and skiing across the border, smuggling in money, arms and explosives, and bringing back valuable intelligence – once on rolls of microfilm carried inside her gloves – as well as escapees.

On her first mission, in Budapest she met Andrzej Kowerski, a Polish army officer and agent. They became lovers and soulmates, and remained so off and on – despite her many other lovers – for the rest of her life. In January 1941 the Gestapo arrested them in Hungary, and after two days’ interrogation Krystyna bit her tongue to make it seem that she was coughing up blood. A chest X-ray revealed lung scarring from the exhaust fumes from the garage where she had worked 15 years earlier, and she and Kowerski were immediately released as likely TB sufferers.

To help their escape, they were given British passports and new names. Krystyna became Christine Granville, the name she formally adopted when she was later naturalised as a British subject.

After a period employed by the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in Cairo, when Granville was trained as a wireless operator, on 7 July 1944 she was parachuted into Nazi-occupied southern France to act as courier to Francis (‘Roger’) Cammaerts, the SOE officer in charge of subversive activities east of the Rhône. Soon she was acting as his second-in-command, travelling widely through enemy-held territory, conveying messages between the members of his network and keeping them motivated. When the Germans carried out a huge offensive on the Vercors plateau, Granville and Cammaerts escaped the massacre that followed by hiking 70 miles in 24 hours.

Granville’s most legendary exploit was securing the release of Cammaerts and two other agents after they had been arrested by the Gestapo and were awaiting execution. She did so by posing as a British agent sent to obtain their release and persuading the captors that, with a British invasion imminent, they would meet a terrible fate if they executed the prisoners. Somehow, the ruse worked – with the help of a 2 million franc bribe and Granville’s charm – and the agents walked free. For her exploits she was awarded a George Medal and OBE by the British and a Croix de Guerre by the French.

LONDON AND DEATH

After the war ended the SOE paid Granville off. Eventually, after gaining British citizenship, in early 1949 she moved to London.

From this point on her usual address was the Shellbourne Hotel, 1/3 Lexham Gardens, in Kensington, where she had a regular room on the first floor. The hotel – which comprised two large and quite grand houses, built in the 1870s – was run by the Polish Relief Society to provide cheap accommodation for émigrés.

Despite her war record she was unable to find settled employment, and drifted through a string of short-lived menial jobs before taking work as a stewardess on cruise ships. On one voyage she had a brief affair with another steward, Dennis Muldowney, who became obsessed with her. After she rejected him, he stalked her.

On 15 June 1952 Granville returned to the Shellbourne to find Muldowney waiting there, and he stabbed her to death in the hallway. He was hanged ten weeks later. Granville was buried in the Roman Catholic cemetery at Kensal Green on 21 June.


Nigel Perrin

Maria Krystyna Janina Skarbek was born in Warsaw in 1908, the second child of Count Jerzy Skarbek and Stephania Goldfeder, the daughter of a wealthy Jewish banker. The Skarbeks had influenced Polish history for a thousand years, saving the country from medieval invaders and serving its royal courts, and Krystyna inherited the self‐assuredness, patriotism and fearlessness of her ancestors. She also displayed her father’s vivacity and drive: although fragile‐looking and slender, she had a tomboyish nature and spent much of her time riding horses on the family’s country estate. She could be extremely persuasive, selfless and fiercely loyal, but was equally capable of cold calculation and even ruthlessness, especially when her or others’ freedom was threatened. One other trait put her in good stead for clandestine work: she was good at keeping secrets. Throughout her life she was careful what she divulged, even to her closest friends.

After leaving convent school Krystyna could have expected to become a society girl, living a life of leisure frequenting Warsaw’s salons. But her father’s death in 1930 left her future uncertain as Jerzy’s extravagant lifestyle had exhausted the family’s coffers. To support herself she took an office job above a Fiat garage, but she was soon taken ill and diagnosed with lung scarring caused by the rising exhaust fumes. Perhaps this accounted for her later dread of secretarial work, but bizarrely this incident would later save her life.

Illness also led her to discover another of her great passions. The family doctor suggested mountain air to improve her condition, and she took to skiing at the popular winter resort of Zakopane, high in the Tatra Mountains and just a few miles from the Slovakian border. For all her aristocratic breeding, Krystyna was no snob: she preferred simple living with unpretentious people, and soon endeared herself to Zakopane’s close‐knit community. The change of scenery did wonders for her health and the common sight of her slim and graceful figure on the ski slopes turned the heads of the town’s young men, but none was allowed to get too close: anyone trying to restrict her freedom would simply be left in her wake.

At eighteen she married a businessman, Karol Getlich, but it was short‐lived and they divorced soon after. Her next husband was a much more romantic figure, and introduced himself by manfully grabbing her waist as she hurtled down one of Zakopane’s more dangerous slopes. Jerzy Gizycki was impressive and worldly character: physically imposing, moody and short‐tempered, he’d lived as a gold prospector and cowboy in the US before becoming a Polish diplomat and a writer with a passion for Africa. Although he could be dark and difficult to live with, Krystyna found him irresistible. They married in November 1938 in Warsaw and left Europe for a new life in colonial Kenya.

When Germany invaded Poland in 1939 the Gizyckis were in Ethiopia, Jerzy having taken a posting to Addis Ababa. Determined to defend their country they immediately left for London, where Krystyna immediately began pulling whatever strings she could. She first looked up Frederick Voigt, a well‐connected political journalist and BBC commentator who she’d met several years earlier, which led to an introduction to Foreign Office adviser Sir Robert Vansittart. He then suggested her to George Taylor, a formidable Australian businessman who now headed the Balkan section of Section D, an offshoot of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, or MI6). First impressions were very favourable and a memo to Taylor gushed: “She is a very smart looking girl, simply dressed and aristocratic. She is a flaming Polish patriot. She made an excellent impression and I really believe we have a PRIZE”.

Section D was set up to find novel ways of sabotaging Germany’s war efforts. These included spreading anti‐Nazi propaganda across occupied Europe, using agents in neutral countries to distribute it. Lines of communication between Hungary and Poland were now badly needed as German propaganda now controlled all news, effectively cutting Poland off from the outside world.

Taylor could be an impatient man, but it didn’t take long for him to see Krystyna’s potential. She had already considered every detail of her plan: posing as a journalist based in Budapest, she would cross Slovakia and ski over the Polish border to Zakopane, where she could rely on help from her friends there. Once she’d opened a courier channel, she could begin to deliver propaganda material for the Polish networks to distribute, and bring out whatever intelligence they had for London. All she asked for was the chance to prove herself.

Taylor endorsed her proposal and she flew out on 21 December 1939. For all Christine’s enthusiasm and determination to succeed, this would be a difficult and dangerous mission. Hungary was a neutral country, but its government had recently accepted Slovakian territory offered by the Nazis and was more likely to cooperate with Germany than the Allies. Moreover Sir Owen O’ Malley, the British minister in Budapest, took a dim view of Section D’s cloak and dagger work and refused to have anything to do with it.

On arrival in Budapest Krystyna was met by Hubert Harrison, who handled Section D’s Polish contacts while posing as Balkan correspondent for the News Chronicle and Jozef Radziminski, a former Polish intelligence agent who would act as her assistant. Using the cover name of “Madame Marchand”, she quickly found a flat and immediately began making plans for first trip to Poland. Stubbornly ignoring all advice she left in February, when temperatures had dropped to 󈙞°C and snow in the mountains was several metres deep, but she managed to persuade Olympic skier Jan Marusarz, now working for the Polish consulate, to act as her guide. Enlisting the help of some old friends in Zakopane Krystyna then set off to begin her real work, criss‐crossing the country by train, horse or on foot, gathering information and making new resistance contacts.

Witnessing the daily hardships her countrymen faced under the new German occupation was shocking, but Krystyna was also encouraged to meet those willing to fight back. Underground newspapers and intelligence networks were springing up everywhere, including one known as the Witkowski organisation or “the Musketeers”, which would prove to be an invaluable source.

After returning to Budapest she submitted a long report to London, and was then faced with an unexpected problem. Radziminski had become infatuated with Krystyna, and after she refused his proposal of marriage he set out to make a grand romantic gesture. First he jumped off the city’s Elizabeth Bridge but hadn’t realised the Danube was frozen. Next he attempted to shoot himself, but lost his nerve at the last moment and only injured his leg. Unimpressed, Section D requested he hobble back to London immediately.

Thankfully there were more stable contacts to be made, and none more important than Andrzej Kowerski. A fellow Pole, Kowerski was also from landowning stock and had joined the Polish motorised division in 1939. Tall and broad‐shouldered, he’d lost a leg in a shooting accident before the war, but that wasn’t stopping him from smuggling dozens of Polish soldiers and Allied prisoners of war over the Hungarian border. With Harrison about to leave for England, Kowerski and Krystyna began working more closely together and soon made a formidable team.

She crossed into Poland again in June and visited members of her family in Warsaw, including her Jewish mother. Afraid for her safety, Krystyna begged her leave the country but she was determined to stay and carry on her work teaching French to young children. With her courier obligations growing she made another journey a week later, but this time her usual good luck failed. After crossing the Polish border she and her companion were caught by Slovakian guards, who threatened to hand them over to the Gestapo. Unflustered, Krystyna refused to disclose anything during several hours of interrogation, and eventually persuaded her captors to take the money she was carrying and let both of them go. A cool head and quick thinking had saved them but they were now known to the Slovak police, making any further trips very dangerous.

Along with carrying out odd propaganda jobs for Section D’s news agency, Krystyna and Kowerski began gathering intelligence on river and train traffic travelling between Germany and Romania, and tracking the movements of frontier guards on the Yugoslav and Slovakian borders. Their love affair only seemed to strengthen their dedication to their work, but things were becoming difficult. Krystyna was running out of money, communications with London were difficult and their work was becoming more dangerous every day.

Kowerski hardly had time to sleep, but steeled himself to drive thousands of kilometres in his trusty Opel saloon to smuggle Polish airmen – now desperately needed to replace pilots lost during the Battle of Britain – into Yugoslavia. He had also become well known to the Hungarian police and their Gestapo counterparts, who stepped up surveillance of his movements. Krystyna continued to push herself hard as well, and after a fourth trip into Poland in mid‐November she became seriously ill with flu. Despite their devotion to the cause and each other, they could not hope to carry on for much longer.

The inevitable police raid came in the early hours of 24 January 1941. After several fruitless hours of interrogation the Gestapo were anxious to use more brutal methods of questioning, but Krystyna was able to interrupt the investigation by playing on her recent illness. Biting her tongue hard, she gave the impression that she was coughing up blood and might be suffering from TB. At a prison hospital she underwent a chest X‐ray, which horrified her doctor: with no idea about her previous lung scarring from exhaust fumes, he concluded that she was seriously ill and arranged for her and Kowerski’s release.

Although still under surveillance, both of them were able to slip away and sneak into the British embassy to ask for O’Malley’s help in leaving Hungary (Krystyna already knew the minister and his family, having already discussed plans to bring out British prisoners of war from Poland). He obliged and issued them with new passports, but they first would need British names to go with them. O’Malley’s daughter Kate suggested Krystyna become “Christine Granville” and Kowerski decided on “Andrew Kennedy”: although made up on the spur of the moment, both would keep these names for the rest of their lives. Christine was hidden in the boot of the embassy’s Chrysler as it crossed over the Yugoslav border, then she joined Andrew in his battered Opel to continue their journey to Belgrade. Over the coming days they had to endure horrendous driving conditions and suspicious border guards but they eventually reached Istanbul in neutral Turkey, where the British consulate welcomed them.

Christine made an unusual proposal to keep their work going in Budapest. After she had left London, her husband had taken a Polish posting to the Gambia (he’d been too old to join up) and was now desperate to see her again. Christine asked London to consider sending him over, and he arrived in Istanbul in March. She had no doubt that Gizycki was the right man to take their place, and although she knew their marriage was dead she mentioned nothing of her relationship with Andrew. Unfortunately by the time he reached Budapest he barely had time to do anything: under pressure from Hitler, Hungarian troops were about to support the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia and British diplomatic relations were broken off. Gizycki had no choice but to evacuate the city with O’ Malley’s staff just a few days later.

After leaving Turkey, Christine and Andrew endured a long and dusty excursion through Syria and Jerusalem to report to SOE’s Cairo headquarters in May 1941 (Section D’s work had been overtaken by SOE in 1940). They hadn’t expected a heroes’ welcome, but they were mystified by the icy reception they received. There was a simple reason for it: the Polish government‐in‐exile in London had just ordered all ties with “amateur” networks like the Musketeers to be cut, claiming they had been penetrated by German intelligence.

This meant that SOE could not send either Christine or Andrew back to the Balkans, and Polish section officer Peter Wilkinson had the unenviable job of breaking the news. Having just arrived himself after a difficult journey from Crete, Wilkinson was blunt to the point of rudeness (something he later regretted) then took the precaution of putting both of them under surveillance, which Andrew soon found out about. Christine handed over microfilms she’d brought from Hungary as evidence of the importance of her sources, which clearly showed the build up of German forces in advance of the imminent invasion of Russia, but they too were ignored. Having put their lives on the line for their country, they were now suspected of being Gestapo spies.

Gizycki, now back in Cairo after an exhausting journey via Russia and Iran, was furious at their treatment. Taylor and SOE’s Balkan staff felt uncomfortable about the situation but they were committed to working with the Polish government, and it would not budge from its ruling. Gizycki was even more distraught after Christine reluctantly broke more bad news, telling him that she wanted a separation. Bruised and embittered, he accepted a gratuity from the British government and later emigrated to Canada.

Christine was at a loose end in Cairo. She and Andrew were kept on the SOE payroll but she soon found herself with little to do apart from lounging in the sun at the Gezira Sporting Club and socialising with her new friends at SOE’s HQ. She turned down the offer to become a cipher clerk – it seemed too much like office work – but took a wireless operator course, thinking it would be useful skill if another mission came her way. Meanwhile Andrew parted company and became a parachute instructor for SOE recruits (despite his wooden leg he insisted on jumping with every group). After completing her wireless training Christine also gained her parachute “wings” at the RAF base in Haifa.

By 1944, Cairo had become a gilded cage. As O’ Malley later put it, Christine had “a positive nostalgie for danger” and was miserable without a chance to meet it. At the end of March 1944 Patrick Howarth, one of her closer friends in SOE’s Polish section, proposed that she be sent back to Hungary as a wireless operator. However, Christine's charm and powers of persuasion were easily spotted by Howarth's commanding officer, who surmised that she had “obviously worked overtime on MP50 [Howarth’s codename]” by April the plan had been scrapped.

In fact it was only after D‐Day that a vacancy arose, this time in SOE’s AMF section, which sent agents into southern France from Algiers: courier Cecily Lefort had been arrested some months earlier in Montélimar, and her chief needed a replacement urgently. Like many of her class in Poland Christine spoke near perfect French and having wireless skills too made her a natural choice. She was briefed at AMF's “Massingham” base and given false identity papers in the name of Jacqueline Armand. Her codename would be Pauline.

She parachuted near Vassieux in the Vercors region in the early hours of 7 July. The landing left her bruised and had smashed of the butt of her revolver, but that was no great loss. She hated loud bangs, and Andrew’s attempts at pistol instruction in Algiers had failed miserably (she would shut her eyes before pulling the trigger). Four days later she met her new boss, Francis Cammaerts, a 28 year‐old schoolmaster and former conscientious objector. Tall, authoritative and security‐minded, he had become one of the best SOE operators in the country, his JOCKEY circuit coordinating resistance groups from the Rhône valley to the Riviera and as far north as Grenoble.

After a tour meeting hundreds of Cammaerts’ supporters, they moved to the Vercors plateau, a vast expanse of forests, gorges and caves surrounded by huge mountains and limestone cliffs, where French guerrillas – known as “maquis” – were suffering relentless bombing attacks from German aircraft. Weeks before the people of the Vercors had defied the Nazi occupiers and proudly declared their territory a new French republic, but more than 10,000 well equipped enemy troops were about to sweep into the area and reclaim it. Despite desperate pleas for help London failed to come to their aid, and Christine and Francis narrowly escaped the terrible massacre that followed by hiking their way out, covering 70 miles in just 24 hours.

A day later Christine was off to the Italian border. Groups of Poles reluctantly pressed into German service were garrisoned at frontier posts overlooking the winding Alpine passes, and her job would be to persuade them to change sides and hand over their arms. One of her victories was the fort at Col de Larche, a 2000 foot high stronghold surrounded by dense larch forests. Although bloodied and bruised after a day’s climb to reach the garrison, she convinced its 200 Poles to disable their mountain guns and desert their posts. She also enabled several newly arrived special forces teams make contact with Italian partisans and prevent German advances by blowing up the roads and bridges around Briançon.

Such episodes soon gained “Miss Pauline” respect among her male counterparts, but the next would make her a legend. After bringing over another Polish group to the maquis, news arrived that Francis, his lieutenant Xan Fielding and a French officer had been arrested at a roadblock at Digne, on the Route Napoléon between Cannes and Grenoble. With maquis commanders reluctant to attempt a rescue, she immediately cycled 40 kilometres to the Gestapo HQ and presented herself to Albert Schenck, a French liaison officer working with the Germans. She had nothing to bargain with, so began a bluff: declaring herself a British agent and the niece of Field Marshal Montgomery, she warned that an Allied invasion from the south was imminent, and the likes of Schenck would be “handed over to the mob” unless they cooperated with her.

It was a desperate gamble, but amazingly it paid off. French and US troops landed on the Riviera as predicted, and Schenck hurriedly arranged a meeting with Max Waem, a Belgian interpreter working for the Gestapo. After three hours of negotiations they accepted Christine’s offer of two million francs and a guarantee of protection in return for the three prisoners’ lives. The money was dropped by air and the next day Waem drove Francis and his bewildered companions out of the prison, just hours ahead of their scheduled execution. After passing a roadblock they recognised Christine waiting for them by the roadside, and Waem was allowed to make his escape as agreed.

Thanks to efforts of the JOCKEY network General Patch’s US forces liberated Digne, Gap and Grenoble by the end of August, and SOE’s job in the region was done. But the war was not yet over for Christine. In September Churchill’s cabinet finally agreed for SOE to send several political missions to Poland, in the hope that their reports might provide a more objective view of the situation and alleged Soviet atrocities. Christine was given an honorary WAAF commission and sent to SOE’s base at Bari on the heel of Italy, from where she would be flown in as a courier. The first team, codenamed Freston, arrived on 27 December but it was overrun by Soviet forces in January, and all other missions were cancelled.

In sy memoir Hide and Seek Xan Fielding recalled how Christine often half‐jokingly talked of the “horrors of peace” and she clearly dreaded the prospect of life without the adventure, camaraderie and sense of purpose that war had given her. Returning to Cairo she took a job at Middle East headquarters, and after some discussion SOE agreed to continue paying her until December 1945, just before it was due to disband itself. Alone and with no work prospects, she now faced an uncertain future.

Christine discovered that her mother had died in prison after being arrested by the Nazis, and with Poland under Russian occupation she knew she could not return home. Now stateless, she had no trouble finding referees to support her application for naturalisation but the Home Office ignored her extraordinary service record and she only became a British citizen in December 1946. Some of her émigré friends were worried about Christine’s precarious situation and encouraged her to join Andrew, now living in Germany, but despite their unique and unbreakable bond she never pursued the idea of marrying him.

Sometimes her pride and independence seemed to sabotage any chance of finding financial security: she gave no reason for refusing to accept a house left to her in a friend’s will, and turned down the chance of a government post because it was offered in respect of her SOE career. Instead she drifted through a string of menial jobs, including switchboard operator and Harrods shop assistant, but in 1947 her new British passport enabled her to escape the miseries of London for Kenya, where she met an old friend from Cairo days. The sun and open spaces did her good, and it was in Nairobi that she received the George Medal and OBE (she had already been awarded the French Croix de Guerre). Even Africa had its ghosts, though, and Kenya could sometimes remind her of pre‐war life with Gizycki.

Christine has been suggested as the inspiration for the Vesper Lynd character in Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel, Casino Royale, published in 1953. However, her connections with Fleming are questionable: one of Christine’s friends, a former SOE officer named Ted Howe, was cited by Fleming biographer Donald McCormick as the one who brought them together, but there is no evidence for his claim. In sy boek 17F: The Life of Ian Fleming McCormick stated that Fleming and Christine met at Bertorelli’s restaurant in London's Charlotte Street, and quoted from a letter that Fleming supposedly wrote to Howe afterwards, which included the lines: “I see exactly what you mean about Christine, she literally shines with all the qualities and splendours of a fictitious character. How rarely one finds such types.”

In a revised edition of her biography of Christine, Madeleine Masson noted that as a girl Christine’s father used to call her “Vesperale”, but the source of this claim may well have been McCormick, who also claimed that Fleming carried on a discreet, year‐long affair with her. It’s easy to see how Christine's hypnotic charm and spirit of adventure would have spurred any novelist’s imagination unfortunately there's little if anything to actually link her to Fleming, or the character of Lynd.

Determined to travel and break out of her rut in London, Christine took a job as a stewardess on the New Zealand cruise liner MV Ruahine in May 1951 and joined its maiden voyage from Southampton to Wellington. One of the staff rules demanded that staff wear their wartime decorations, which made Christine an object of curiosity and caused a certain amount of jealousy, but one crew member was willing to stand by her. A diminutive forty three‐year‐old, Dennis Muldowney was a pathetic and lonely figure who had joined the Merchant Navy in 1948 after his wife had divorced him on the grounds of cruelty. Soon became clear that Muldowney wanted to be at the centre of Christine's life, whatever the cost.

For someone who hated domestic chores – she would always stay in hotels to avoid housework and having to cook – Christine must have found life onboard trying. As Muldowney's obsessiveness grew she did her best to put some distance between them, but in April 1952 he responded by taking a job as a porter at the Reform Club, just a short ride from her Kensington hotel. At Andrew’s invitation Christine planned to fly to Belgium on Monday 16 June: it would give her a break before her next hostess job and hopefully shake Muldowney off. On Sunday night she came home after meeting friends, and moments later her stalker followed her through the front door and up to the landing. One of the hotel workers in the lounge heard Christine and Muldowney talking and return downstairs, then there was a sudden scream. With no warning Muldowney had suddenly produced a dagger and stabbed her in the chest. The staff immediately overpowered him but she was dead moments later.

The medical report written before Muldowney’s trial concluded that he was a fantasist but showed no signs of serious mental disturbance, and he refused any defence at the Old Bailey on 11 September. In a rambling and unrepentant final letter to his family he elevated his relationship with Christine to that of Antony and Cleopatra, but still coldly asserted that she had “asked for what she got”. He was hanged at Pentonville prison on 30 September 1952.

Although other women agents such as Violette Szabo and Odette Sansom grabbed post‐war headlines and became the subjects of biographies and films, Christine’s story had remained largely unknown to the public. Consequently she attracted far more respect and acknowledgement in death than she ever experienced during her lifetime inevitably, some conspiracy theorists preferred to believe that she had been assassinated for political reasons. Her story featured in Lewe magazine and she was described as a “George Medal Heroine” on the pages of numerous dailies, but Andrew, Cammaerts and her closest friends made a point of keeping their silence, a laudable but forlorn effort to combat the sensationalist junk being reported in the press. Knowing a biography would eventually appear with or without their help, they put their faith in author Madeleine Masson, and Christine: a search for Christine Granville was published in 1975, with Cammaerts writing the foreword. A second, The Spy Who Loved by Clare Mulley, was published in 2012.

Christine’s burial at St Mary’s Cemetery, Kensal Green was attended by two hundred mourners, including Andrew, Francis Cammaerts and former SOE head Colin Gubbins. The grave is unremarkable except for the shield of the Black Virgin of Czestochowa above the headstone (Christine often carried a medallion of the Madonna with her) and a smaller plaque bearing Andrew’s name, laid after his death in 1988. He never married. Respecting his wishes, his ashes were laid to rest at the foot of her grave.

In 2020, English Heritage erected a commemorative plaque on the Shellbourne Hotel.


The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville


Title: The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville
Author: Clare Mulley
Publisher: St. Martin's Press , 2020
Formats: Kindle (.mobi), ePub (.epub), PDF (.pdf)
Pages: 426
Downloads: The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville.pdf (3.3 MB), The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville.mobi (10.2 MB), The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville.epub (5.1 MB)

The Untold Story of Britain’s First Female Special Agent of World War II

In June 1952, a woman was murdered by an obsessed colleague in a hotel in the South Kensington district of London. Her name was Christine Granville. That she died young was perhaps unsurprising that she had survived the Second World War was remarkable.

The daughter of a feckless Polish aristocrat and his wealthy Jewish wife, Granville would become one of Britain’s most daring and highly decorated special agents. Having fled to Britain on the outbreak of war, she was recruited by the intelligence services and took on mission after mission. She skied over the hazardous High Tatras into occupied Poland, served in Egypt and North Africa, and was later parachuted behind enemy lines into France, where an agent’s life expectancy was only six weeks. Her courage, quick wit, and determination won her release from arrest more than once, and saved the lives of several fellow officers — including one of her many lovers — just hours before their execution by the Gestapo. More importantly, the intelligence she gathered in her espionage was a significant contribution to the Allied war effort, and she was awarded the George Medal, the OBE, and the Croix de Guerre.

Granville exercised a mesmeric power on those who knew her. In The Spy Who Loved, acclaimed biographer Clare Mulley tells the extraordinary history of this charismatic, difficult, fearless, and altogether extraordinary woman.


Granville, Christine (1915–1952)

Polish secret agent during World War II . Name variations: Countess Krystina Skarbek. Born Countess Krystina Skarbek in Poland in 1915 died in London in 1952 married George Gizycki.

One of many women who served as secret agents during World War II, Christine Granville was born in Poland in 1915 as Countess Krystina Skarbek, the daughter of a distinguished Polish family. Known for her beauty and vibrant personality, she was winner of a "Miss Poland" contest during her teens. She was living in Addis Ababa with her second husband when the war broke out, and she went immediately to England to offer her services to British Intelligence. Accepted, she was assigned to Budapest, Hungary, where she undertook the dangerous mission of smuggling Poles and other Allied officers out of Poland. Seemingly without fear and meticulous about security, she made three journeys into Poland and also carried out several missions in the Balkans before being sent to France in 1944. On this assignment, she often parachuted onto the Vercors Plateau in Southern France, where, as a courier for the Hockey network, she maintained contact with the French Resistance and the Italian partisans. Her successes included initiating the surrender of a German garrison of Polish troops located on the Italian frontier and bluffing the Gestapo into freeing two of her captured comrades three hours before they were to be executed. She was awarded the George Medal and an OBE by the British government. Ironically, after surviving so many dangerous missions during the war, she was murdered by a spurned suitor in London in 1952.

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