Of all the spies who contributed to the defeat of the Nazis, Juan Pujol Garcia stands alone. His story boggles the imagination with its implausibility, it looks more like a spy novel, rather than reality. Just because Garcia was no spy, he was a Spanish farmer who dreamed of enlisting in British intelligence. He was also an adventurer and a liar. And so amazing that he managed to circle the entire German elite, led by Hitler.
A Barcelona native, Juan Pujol Garcia was a 20-year-old boy who ran a poultry farm during the outbreak of civil war in Spain. He was raised in a family with liberal political ideals and believed that no ideology is worth a single human life. Juan was a staunch pacifist and despite his participation in the resistance group, he did not hold a weapon in his hands. He managed to sit for his "merits" in a Spanish prison.
When Juan Garcia was released from prison, he hid for a whole year and was afraid even of his own shadow. After life began to slowly improve, he found a job as a manager of a small provincial hotel. Here Garcia was incredibly lucky - one Spanish duke asked for a post. They got to talking and Juan found out that the aristocrat needed one eccentric favor: he needed to get whiskey for his relatives. Garcia solved this problem by obtaining contraband booze, and in return, the duke provided Garcia with a passport. Now he could leave!
It so happened that Europe was no longer a safe place. The Second World War began. There was nowhere to run too much. Juan decides to fight Nazi Germany and offers his services as a spy, first to American, then to Italian intelligence. Everywhere he was refused. Then he began to knock on the doorstep of the British Embassy. Three times he turned to British officials, but his services were refused, because he was an absolute amateur.
Having lost all hope of becoming an MI5 employee, Puhol calls the German embassy and offers his espionage services to the Nazis. Thanks to his well-hung tongue and his undoubtedly amazing acting skills, Garcia convinces the Abwehr agent that he is devoted to the ideas of the Third Reich to the core. At that time, Germany recruited many agents, trying to take, if not in quality, then in quantity. Only the Abwehr needed an agent in England. Garcia said that he has connections with diplomats and he can easily get an English visa.
It is difficult to say if Juan was fully believed by his curator, but he agreed to wait until the applicant received a visa. Of course, Pujol did not have any diplomatic acquaintances. The British embassy refused him. Here the future spy was again saved by his incredible talkativeness: at the hotel where he was staying, he met and got into conversation with a man named Jaime Sousa. Sousa had a coveted visa and Puhol simply stole it.
Having forged the document for himself, Garcia went to the curator. He was impressed. The newly-minted Abwehr spy was supplied with a substantial amount of cash, invisible ink, secret codes and the call sign Alaric.Garcia's mission was to impersonate an Air Force officer and infiltrate British intelligence. As a journalist, Agent Alaric would send his reports under the guise of articles, where he wrote information between the lines with invisible ink.
Juan was sure: now the British will not refuse him! He went to Portugal and went to the British embassy, showing them everything the Nazis had supplied him for espionage. To Garcia's great surprise and disappointment, he was shown the door. He did not understand how this is so: the Abwehr immediately took him to work, and the allies are so unfavorable to his person? Despite this, Juan decides to do everything himself.
It was just a mind blowing adventure! Garcia not only did not know English, he had never been to England! There was no point in trying to cross the border with a fake visa. All these difficulties do not frighten the newly-minted spy and he begins his activity. It was necessary to somehow explain the presence of Portuguese stamps on their letters. Garcia came up with a whole story about how he recruited a Dutch flight attendant and she will forward, for conspiracy purposes, his letters from Lisbon. The Abwehr approved this initiative.
Juan lived with his wife in Portugal and made fake spy reports. It must be said that Agent Alaric's reports were quite impressive. Puhol drew information from the British press and the telephone directory. He came up with a whole network of imaginary agents. Garcia so inspired and brazenly lied, the reports were full of fiery pompous passages about love for the Reich, they practically did not contain useful information.
Once, quite by accident, Agent Alaric did not point his finger at the sky, as usual, but guessed very important secret information. Garcia's fake report was so close to the truth that British intelligence panicked. They started looking for a Nazi spy. Some time later, Puhol sent another report, this time a false one. British intelligence intercepted the data and reached Garcia. They were incredibly impressed with how the absolute layman can lead so many professionals by the nose. Finally, Pujol's dream came true - MI5 hired him!
For his amazing acting skills, Garcia received the pseudonym "Garbo" and officially began working as a double agent. Puhol skillfully supplies his imaginary co-workers with a host of imaginary details. They all have their own habits, their own character, political views. Agent Garbo is inventive at this, like a novelist. His network of agents was codenamed "Arabel".
British intelligence began supplying Pujol with valuable information that helped Pujol reach the highest level of trust in Germany. The ciphers that Agent Alaric received helped British intelligence intercept secret messages from the Third Reich. His real finest hour has come: each message from Agent Alaric was transmitted to Hitler personally. At this time, it was 1944. The Allies planned a large-scale landing operation.
This operation became a real highlight in the career of the virtuoso adventurer Juan Pujol Garcia. The Allies had long and carefully planned this landing. Of course, it was impossible to hide an operation of this magnitude. Agent Garbo's task was to misinform Hitler about the venue. It was a very dangerous game that could cost hundreds of thousands of lives. Garcia sends a message to Germany that a provocation is planned for the landing in Normandy, but in fact it will take place in Pas-de-Calais.
Alaric just peppered the Abwehr with messages. Hitler trusted his information so much that he did not heed the advice of Rommel, who warned the Fuhrer against building such an important operation on information from just one source. The allies struck the Reich from two sides: the west from Normandy, and the Soviet army from Belarus. D-Day or Operation Neptune went well.For his success, Agent Garbo was awarded the highest award of Great Britain - the Knight's Cross of the British Empire. The most interesting thing is that the German authorities also awarded the loyal agent with the Iron Cross, and he was also paid a solid bonus.
An outstanding double agent changed the whole course of that terrible war and saved a huge number of people from death. Puhol fled to South America after the war. He faked his death and for many years hid under the guise of the owner of a souvenir shop in Caracas, leading the usual quiet life of a family man. It wasn't until 1984 that journalist Nigel West found him.
Puhol arrived in London, where he simply amazed his former colleagues from MI5. After all, he managed to convince everyone of his death! On the fortieth anniversary of the Normandy landings, Pujol was at Omaha Beach. There he saw rows of graves, fell to his knees and burst into tears. He considered himself guilty of every death. One veteran walked up to him and shook his hand, saying, “It is an honor for me to shake Agent Garbo's hand. The person thanks to whom we stayed alive. " After these words, Puhol wept again, but now they were tears of joy.
An outstanding liar, actor and adventurer, as well as a brilliant spy, died in 1988 at the seventy-sixth year of his life, in the city that became his second homeland - Caracas. Most spies work for money, and many become double agents. Puhol worked strictly in accordance with his ideals of pacifism and hatred of the Nazis. Thanks to all this mixture, he became such a good spy.
Read the story of another outstanding spy, one of the most effective Soviet intelligence officers, in our article artist, writer, screenwriter and spy Dmitry Bystroletov.
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