Recent Tweets @emmagarman
Posts I Like
Who I Follow
Posts tagged "WWII"

My essay about MI5’s WWII spy-astrologer—commissioned by the brilliant Carrie Frye for The Awl—has been translated into French by Jules Michel-Rodrigues and appears at Ulyces, a new digital publisher dedicated to narrative journalism by writers from France and around the world.

Such bold-faced aplomb would be deployed time and time again in dealing with the Nazis. When working for SEO (Special Operations Executive, the secret wartime sabotage unit) in the Alps, where she trekked between the French and Italian sides and transmitted vital information about enemy activity, Christine was stopped by the German frontier patrol. In her hand she held a silk map of the region, given to agents to avoid the giveaway rustle of paper in pockets. With no hope of concealing it, she casually shook the fabric out and used it to replace the headscarf she was wearing, greeting the soldiers in French as if she were simply a local on an errand. Another time she and Andrzej Kowerski, her on-off lover and frequent partner in crime, were arrested and interrogated by Gestapo officers in Budapest. Christine had been suffering from flu, so she exaggerated her hacking cough and bit her tongue so hard that she appeared to be bringing up blood. Presumed to be infected with tuberculosis—potentially fatal and frighteningly infectious—she and Kowerski were released.

From my review of Clare Mulley’s amazing biography of Christine Granville, one of WWII’s most breathtakingly daredevilish spies.

German-born Louis de Wohl spent most of his career as a novelist, but during WWII he was employed by British Intelligence to cast Hitler’s horoscope, write a fake astrology magazine, and spread alarmist propaganda about the Nazis invading America.