Garbo - Juan Pujol Garcia
Garbo - Juan Pujol Garcia
I decided to create this site dedicated to man who does not get mentioned in WWII history books.
When people discuss World War II everybody mentions Churchill, Monty, Eisenhower, Hitler & Rommel.
GARBO should be on the list as the pivotal man of D-Day.
Juan Pujol Garcia - Codename Garbo
German - Codename Arabel
If you take a moment think, what did Spain do during WWII?
I bet that very few people know of anything that the Spanish people contributed to the efforts.
In fact Spain as a country did nothing of note.
This is because foolishly, they tried to be neutral and were consequently bombed by Germany who denied it at the time. Germany tried to bring Spain into the war on their side.
Garbo and his network of fictional agents fed the Nazis with misinformation from the day he walked into the German embassy in Madrid in 1941, right up until the end of the war. Not only did the Germans never discover his true identity, but they also heaped praise on Pujol, even awarding him the Iron Cross in 1944, making him the only man in history to receive that honour as well as the MBE from Britain.
Hitlerís regime awarded the German Iron Cross to GARBO in abstentia. Because only German combatants were eligible for that honour, Hitler approved a special procedure so that his valued spy could qualify. Garbo was nominally enrolled in the Spanish Blue Division, which was then fighting with the Naziís on the Russian front.
16 Sept 1999 - 54 years after the war was over, MI5 released files relating to Juan Pujol Garcia because they decided that they no longer needed to be considered as Top Secret.
Various information about Garcia are scattered around the Internet and some of it is conflicting but I wanted to try sort out the true information from the false.
Hopefully I will get it right.
If I write any information that you know to be wrong please let me know.
When Juan Pujol Garcia first arrived in Britain as a double agent his codename was Bovril but this was changed to Garbo because people who knew him said that he was without doubt the finest actor they have ever seen.
Incidentally Greta Garbo played Mata Hari in the 1932 film of the same name.
From herein Juan Pujol Garcia will now be referred to as Garbo
Garbo was born 14 Feb 1912 (Barcelona)

The son of an industrialist, he was forced to fight for Franco's Nationalist Army during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) although his sympathies were with the Republicans

He always despised the Francisco Franco regime and in 1941 decided to do what he could to remove the dictatorship from power in Spain.
Garbo offered his services to British intelligence officials who declined his offer.

In 1941 Garbo walked into the German Embassy in Madrid and offered his services to Germany, he told them that he had contacts in England and that he was able to go to England himself in the near future and was prepared to send information back for Germany.
The fact that he had fought for the Franco's Nationalists gave him credibility that he was on Germany's side. He was recruited by German spymaster Karl Kuehlanthal and was trained in the ways of German espionage.

After his training, Kuehlanthal sent him to England, but he headed straight to Lisbon, Portugal where he started his crusade against Germany and fascism.
Garbo was still in Lisbon but led Kuehlanthal to believe that he was in London.
All his communication at this time was by post, and so as far as Kuehlanthal was concerned the post was sent to Lisbon and forwarded on to Berlin.

By using ordinance survey map of Britain, a Blue Guide touring book of England, a Portuguese publication called the British Fleet and a dictionary of military terms, Garbo sent fabricated British naval and shipping details to Kuehlanthal who believed what he was been told. During this time however Garbo did one glaring mistake, he informed Berlin that because of the heat in London that many people went to the coast in summertime. This was not true because anybody who had visited England would know that temperatures do reach the heights of the Europe for any sustained length of time. Fortunately the German agents did not realise this oversight.

Garbo tried several times to offer his services to Britain but was turned down each time.
Garbo's wife contacted an American Diplomat who intern organised for Garbo to meet with a MI6 agent
Garbo showed the agent details of the transaction he had sent and got back from Berlin.
The MI6 agent soon realised the significance of the documentation and when Garbo offered his services yet again he was accepted and arrangements were made to bring him to England.

In April 1942 Garbo moved to England where the full scale of Garbo's deception got into full swing.
After arriving in England on April 24, 1942 he was assigned to MI5 agent Thomas Harris who he would work with from a house in Hendon NW London.

Garbo informed Kuehlanthal that he had recruited other spies in England and was setting up a network in order to process more information faster and more accurately.
He communicated with the Germans in Lisbon by mail for the first year, writing 315 letters that averaged 2,000 words each. For the last two years of the war he also sent more than 1,200 messages by radio.
The Garbo collection in British archives runs to more than fifty volumes.
He informed the Abwehr (German Defence) that he had 14 agents and 11 other contacts in high places. He also gave himself a deputy, a substitute radio operator, and several assistants scattered around the country. Each of the agents was given families and family histories, and they all had different hand writing styles.
In actual fact all of these people were fictitious, but the Germans believed what he told them and sent him a lot of money to fund his ever growing fictitious network and to support the fictitious spies and their families.
One of Garbo's phoney agents was a members of the WRNS (Women's Royal Naval Service) in Ceylon, where she passed information to him for the Abwehr. The Germans in turn passed the information to the Japanese military attached in Berlin to be passed on to Tokyo.
Garbo's activities were so convincing that it forced Germany to reveal some of its real spies and where they were working.
Much of the information that Garbo passed to Germany were things that they were about to find out about anyway, but because Garbo was first to inform them, it gave him enormous credibility.
Juan Pujol Garcia
If you know of any new information or stories of Garbo's exploits I would love to hear from you please Email me with anything you know.
Did you know him? (at anytime in his life)
Did you know of him?
Did you know anybody who new him?
Did you know Thomas (Tomas)  Harris?
Any information about people who knew Garbo could be really useful.
This site is not official. This site has been constructed from what I have learned.
but mainly from information sent to me by email.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed.
Any text that was submitted was re written in my own words.
If I have inadvertantly used any copyrighted material please provide proof and I will remove the piece straight away.
After the war Garbo went to live in Venezuela with his family.
40 years after the war a British historian found him and brought him back to England for the remembrance of all the war dead. He visited some his old friends who were amazed to see him again.
He met with the Queen and collected his MBE that he was awarded 40 years earlier but could not collect because of the secrecy.
He went over to Normandy and visited the war graves. When he saw how many graves were there he started crying. When asked why he was crying he said "I was always told that I was responsible for saving thousands of lives, but after looking at all these graves, I should have done more."
Double Agent For Britain During WWII
All Garbo's transmissions were sent in Spanish
Please don't get me wrong Churchill, Montgomery, Eisenhower and Garbo were all so important that if you were to take one out of the equation it would probably have meant defeat.
Also the thousands of men and women behind the scenes and the millions who physically fought the war.
Nobody was ever allowed to speak about the exploits of Garbo and that is why he has not gone down in the WWII history books or in documentaries. He was Top Secret for 54 years after the war.
Until now.
Please Leave Your Comments Or Questions In The Guest Book.
I will try to answer any query.
How To Catch A German Spy
Double Agents
Garbo after war
The Garbo Deception - The Movie
Was Garbo A Judas?
Good WWII Links
Last updated 5 Sept 2007
Not even close to complete yet.
I first learned of Garbo in the 80's when talking to a man I worked with. Even then my friend told me how top secret Garbo was and that he had been instructed never, ever to tell of his existance. At the time I was not sure if he was telling the truth or not. I also had to promise him that I would never divulge his name. Sadly he died with I'm sure, many things that he had not told me.
There is no benefit to reveal his name so I won't.
I would like to thank him for getting me interested in such a fascinating man.
I could not find any other information on Garbo or his existance until the 90's.
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