Christime Granville (real name was Krystyna Skarbek), was a beauty queen at 17, and was also an expert at knives and loved hand grenade’s.
Some of her wisdom: “With a pistol you can defend yourself against, at most, one person. With a hand grenade, against, five, perhaps ten.”
No wonder she was known as Churchill’s favorite spy.
Ian Flemming used her as inspiration for the character Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale. In part because of her ability to handle a weapon, but even more so because of her ability to use her charms to get anything she wanted. She had the guts and the looks and smooth ability to talk men into doing almost anything she needed, turning many a Nazi into unwitting accomplices.
Her first missions during the war were her idea. She volunteered to travel to Hungary, ski into Poland, bringing with her propaganda for the allied cause. She built on this initial mission to help organize and direct the Polish resistance, collecting lovers along the way.
Like so many other good people who were caught up in the horrors of World War II, Granville was driven to hate Nazi’s for deeply personal reasons. Her hatred for Nazi’s was always there and that motivated her to spy for the allies right after the invasion of Poland. But the hatered for Nazi’s intensified in 1940. She discovered that her mother Stefani, by then separated by her father, had been arrested in Warsaw for failing to register as a Jew. Christine found a Gestapo official who would spare her mother’s life at a price of $300 and a night in her bed. Only after both payments had been made did he tell her that Stefani has already been sent to her death. She was now even more determined to bring down Hitler.
A video introduction to Christine is below:
There were many other operations, some of the most exciting right after the D-Day landings. She was parachuted into eastern France to help organize the French resistance.
Flemming’s biographer Donald McCormick claims that Ian Flemming modeled Vesper Lynde of Casino Royale on Christine, and it sure seems true. Vesper Lynde was a daring and brave agent. But the stories of Christine Granville are far more exciting than any Bond Girl stories ever could be.
For more on Christine Granville we recommend: The Spy Who Loved: The Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville
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