Considered by some to be the most successful double-agent of all time for the part he played in deluding the Germans about the Normandy D-Day landing, Juan Pujol Garcia is an enigmatic historical figure who worked for the British Secret Service…
Born in Barcelona, his double-agent machinations were so successful that he was able to achieve commendations from both the Germans(in the form of the Iron cross) and the British (an MBE) before the end of the war. His intricate deceptions prompted the British to code-name him ‘Garbo’ in honour of the famous actress and performer Gretta Garbo.
The antithesis to Bond
What stands out about Garcià is how dissimilar he was to the espionage professionals portrayed in Hollywood movies. Possessed of an unassuming appearance, his exploits included no thrilling action sequences or feats of excessive physical daring. Instead, the agent known as Garbo was able to deceive the Germans into thinking he was their man in England on the back of almost entirely fictional accounts plucked straight from his vivid imagination.
One testament to his ability to spin a false tale is the fact that Garcià was able to convince the German Abwehr that he was a diplomat working in England, despite having never actually been to the England, being unable to speak the language and having created all of his false documentation himself despite not having a clue what the real things looked like!
Juan Pujol Garcià’s influence on the successful D-day landings…
Garcià’s importance for the success of the Normandy invasion cannot be overstated. In essence, he was almost single handedly responsible for the German’s complete lack of preparedness for the Allied troop’s landing on the beaches. Hitler’s high command were in the process of sending reinforcements from Belgium and France to wipe out a suspected troop landing at Normandy when Garcià sent a fateful memo on June 9th.
It assured the Germans that the landing at Normandy was a fake and a decoy meant to distract from a more serious incursion elsewhere. Hitler’s troops were recalled en-route and the door was left open for the invasion that would herald the turning point in the war.
You can found many others stories about D-day at the D-day museum :
- Address : Place du 6 Juin 14117 Arromanches – France
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