Fri Dec 7, 2012, 11:45 PM
Jefferson23 (30,099 posts)
D For Deception Tina Rosenberg on the British spy novelist who hoodwinked Hitler (Scott Horton)
December 3, 2012
Journalist Tina Rosenberg is best known for her book The Haunted Land: Facing Europe’s Ghosts After Communism, which received both a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and for her prolific editorial writing for the New York Times. Her latest single, D For Deception (Atavist), is the fascinating real-life story of Britain’s prewar master spy novelist, Dennis Wheatley, and the vital role he played in outwitting German intelligence during World War II. I put six questions to her about Wheatley and his work:
1. How did you come across Dennis Wheatley, and what gave you the idea to write a book about him?
In February while in London, I visited the Churchill War Rooms — the underground bunker Churchill used during the war. (The bunker in Skyfall that purports to be Churchill’s is fake.) It’s a fascinating museum, and what interested me most there was a picture of Dennis Wheatley, with this caption: “A popular thriller writer, Wheatley drew on his imagination to produce cover plans for Allied operations. His work included a plan, code named ‘Bodyguard,’ to deceive the Germans about the place and date of the Allied ‘D-Day’ invasion of Europe.”
Like everyone who reads spy novels, I knew about the great British tradition of spies putting what they have lived to literary profit — John Buchan, Graham Greene, John Le Carré, and Somerset Maugham were all spies first, writers of espionage novels later. But Wheatley did it the other way around. I was fascinated by the idea that someone could invent deceptions for a fictional character and then use this skill to fool Hitler.
2 replies, 1347 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
D For Deception Tina Rosenberg on the British spy novelist who hoodwinked Hitler (Scott Horton) (Original post)
|Tuesday Afternoon||Dec 2012||#1|
Response to Jefferson23 (Original post)
Sat Dec 8, 2012, 06:35 AM
muriel_volestrangler (82,057 posts)
2. 'Garbo' is fascinating - he even constructed a new identity for himself after the war
After the end of WWII Pujol feared reprisals from surviving Nazis. With the help of MI5, Pujol travelled to Angola and faked his death of malaria in 1949. He then moved to Lagunillas, Venezuela, where he lived in (relative) anonymity running a bookstore and gift shop.
Pujol divorced his first wife and married Carmen Cilia with whom he had two sons, Carlos Miguel and Juan Carlos, and a daughter who died in 1975 at the age of twenty. By 1984, Pujol had moved to his son Carlos Miguel's house in La Trinidad, Caracas.
In 1971 the British politician Rupert Allason, writing under the pen name Nigel West, became interested in Garbo. For several years, he interviewed various former intelligence officers, but none knew Garbo's real name. Eventually Tomas Harris' friend Anthony Blunt, the Soviet spy who had penetrated MI5, said that he had met Garbo, and knew him as "either Juan or Jose Garcia". Allason's investigation was stalled at that point until March 1984 when a former MI5 officer who had served in Spain supplied Pujol's full name. Allason hired a research assistant to call every J. Garcia in the Barcelona phone book, eventually contacting Pujol's nephew. Pujol and Allason finally met in New Orleans on 20 May 1984.
At Allason's urging, Pujol travelled to London and was received by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace, in an unusually long audience. After that he visited the Special Forces Club and was reunited with a group of his former colleagues including Colonel T. A. Robertson, Colonel Roger Hesketh, Cyril Mills and Desmond Bristow.
On the 40th anniversary of D-Day, 6 June 1984, Pujol travelled to Normandy to tour the beaches and pay his respects to the dead.
Pujol died in Caracas in 1988 and is buried in Choroní, a town inside Henri Pittier National Park by the Caribbean sea.
He didn't need to get involved in the war at all, and it took persistence on his part to get Britain to use him. But he did it all, basically for the sake of humanity.