The Spy Who Loved: the secrets and lives of one of Britain's bravest wartime heroines
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Digne was liberated by the American army two days after Skarbek rescued Cammaerts, Fielding, and Sorensen. A chest X-ray revealed lung scarring (she’d breathed in fumes while working over the garage during the lean years), and she and Kowerski were released as likely Tuberculosis sufferers. Kowerski became "Anthony Kennedy", and Skarbek became "Christine Granville", a name she used for the rest of her life.
She passed them on to the Brits and that influenced the delay of the German Barbarossa operation which was the beginning of the end of world war II.
The British now had the opportunity to use her acumen to their advantage but were also acutely aware that they did not want to lose her in the field. On 3 May 2016 BBC Radio 4 broadcast an episode of Great Lives in which Krystyna Skarbek's life was proposed by Lt General Sir Graeme Lamb, with Clare Mulley as the expert witness. With the assistance of a Belgian liaison as well as a bribe of two million francs, Christine was able to secure their release: Cammaerts and the two fellow agents walked free.
Unable to find work, Skarbek went to Nairobi, Kenya Colony to join Michael Dunford, an old lover, but the British colonial government turned down her application for a work permit.With the two invasions in Normandy and southern France in summer 1944, these distinctions became irrelevant, and almost all the SOE Sections in France were united with the Maquis into the Forces Francaises de l'Interieur ( FFI).
She made contact with two prominent leaders of the French Resistance, Gilbert Galletti and Paul Hérault (soon to be killed by the Germans), and greeted the arrival of an "Operation Toplink" team which included her friends John Roper, Paddy O'Regan, and Harvard Gunn. His family had been known since as early as the 12th century, thanks to Jan of Góra, who raised the future prince Bolesław III Wrymouth.Her mission was cancelled at short notice because of political changes brought about as the Iron Curtain came down across Eastern Europe. Skarbek had promised Waem he would not be arrested by the British, and battled with SOE leaders with some success to protect him. Concerned about the condition of the prisons, he brought to the government's attention the dreadful state of the existing jail, the Prochownia, and designed and helped build a new jail, later known as the Pawiak. Christine Granville, born Krystyna Skarbek, was one of the most remarkable secret agents of the Second World War, undertaking many successful missions and using her language skills, powers of persuasion, and sheer courage to save countless lives.
Number 1 Lexham Gardens, Kensington – then the Shellbourne Hotel – was Granville’s home for the last three years of her extraordinary life. Christine remained a useful cog in the British intelligence network as her prediction of a German invasion of the Soviet Union came true, leading Winston Churchill to remark that she was “his favourite spy”. Skarbek managed to meet with Captain Albert Schenck, an Alsatian who acted as liaison officer between the local French prefecture and the Gestapo.
Their year-long affair is most likely a fabrication, as is the theory that Skarbek served as the basis for Vesper Lynd, a character from Fleming’s first James Bond book, Casino Royale. Her incredible life and heroic deeds are the focus of Hollywood’s The Partisan starring Morgane Polanski which traces her exploits after she fled Poland in 1939 and was recruited as a British operative.