Juan Pujol Biography

A brief biography of Juan Pujol, self made under cover agent.


Pujol was an intriguing character during World War II. With absolutely no experience of background in the area of intelligence he decided to "˜set up' his own spy business. A Spanish citizen, strongly anti-fascist and an incurable romantic Pujol decided to take matters into his own hands when Hitler's Germany began conquering Europe. He offered his services to the British embassy but they declined the offer.

Spy Entrepreneur

Having being refused by the British Pujol went to the Abwehr (German counter intelligence) who were only too happy to recruit him. They gave him money and invisible ink. He was then supposed to travel to London to be based there. In actual fact he was in Lisbon. He gave the Abwehr the impression that he had successfully set up a spy ring in London and was dispatching reports to Lisbon via a courier who flew for KLM airlines (Dutch National carrier).

In spite of ridiculous errors in his reports Pujol duped the Germans. Having become aware of his success the British secret service accepted his renewed offer to work for the Allies. He than travelled to London where he was briefed by MI5, given the codename "Garbo" and assigned to work with Thomas Harris. They established an intricate network of fictitious spies. These reports were so convincing that the Germans sent Pujol assessments of each false agent. The plot thicken further when the Germans received a report from a false sub agent that Pujol had been arrested by MI5. The Germans were very worried that their spy master would be compromised. However, just days later, word was sent to the Nazis that he had been released. This was confirmed by a false official document sent by the British Home Office to Pujol apologising for the arrest. This served to confirm his legitimacy in the eyes of the Germans.

The Big Hoax

Pujol was his most effective during the Normandy landings (D-Day). Pujol and Harris convinced the Germans that Normandy was a feint. For days after the invasion Hitler ordered troops to be held off. He believed that the Allies were going to launch a second offensive in the Pas de Calas region. It never happened but despite this the Germans did not catch on, in fact they awarded him an Iron Cross.

For their part the British relocated him in South America under an assumed name where he lived for another forty years.

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