Saturday, November 11, 2017

Le Spy Game

The time when Josephine Baker became a WW 2 spy:
“When I gazed deep into my own inner self, I realized that I would be incapable of functioning as a real spy,” wrote Baker. “But intelligence work was different. It seemed the perfect way to fight my war.” It didn’t take long for Baker to start passing along information gleaned at receptions at the Japanese and Italian embassies, parties she personally threw, and other affairs around Paris. “Sometimes,” Abtey said, “she would write along her arms, and in the palm of her hand, the things she heard. I told her this was dangerous, but she laughed. ‘Oh, nobody would think I’m a spy.’”

Following the fall of France in 1940, Baker and Atbey found themselves hiding out—comfortably—in Les Milandes, Baker’s estate in the southwest corner of the country. It was there that they received a courier from Captain Paul Paillole—Atbey’s former boss who was now masterminding an underground intelligence network in Vichy—with a mission. Paillole wanted Abtey to go to Portugal and make contact with British intelligence. But he remained leery of Baker. “I was afraid that she was one of those shallow show business personalities who would shatter like glass if exposed to danger,” said Paillole. Despite his reservations, he agreed to give her a chance.
Now that's jazz...

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