What did you feel when you found out what your father was and what his work entailed during World War II?
The memory that I had of my father until that moment was very vague. I was born in London in 1942; during the time my father was developing his spy work as an agent for MI5. I have a blurred memory of those times. I remember games in a park with very green meadows where my mother used to take my brother, Juan, and me.
In ’45, when I was three years old, at the end of the World War II, we left England to settle in Venezuela, in Caracas. At that point, I remember that my father often took us on car trips to visit new places or spend the day at the beach. I also have an image of him at Christmas in which he is hanging from an interior terrace of the house disguised as Santa Claus with a sack full of gifts. The feeling I have of him of that period is of a loving and close father.
I returned to Spain in ’48, with my mother, my brother Juan and my sister María, who was then a baby. My father stayed in Caracas. For three or four years he sent us postcards from time to time, postcards that depicted models of American cars. At one point my mother told us that my father had asked for a divorce. They processed it through Mexico and from that moment on I did not hear anything from him until the year ’84.
That is to say, more than 30 years passed without having any news from him, without even knowing if he was alive. That created a feeling of abandonment that he had forgotten about us.
And suddenly I got a surprise, a phone call from my brother who was listening to radio personality Luis del Olmo interview a certain Juan Pujol, apparently a famous spy of World War II. It seemed, according to the information that Pujol gave, that he could be our father.
My mother, who obviously knew all about my father’s activities as a double agent, had never told us anything. That’s why the stupor and disbelief was so great.
Suddenly my father reappeared in my life, turned into a hero, featured in articles in all national and foreign newspapers, which narrated his exploits and his decisive intervention toward the success of the Normandy Landing. That year, 1984, the 40th anniversary of the Normandy Landing was commemorated. England and France paid homage to Juan Pujol for his work.
We contacted him and met him at the Hotel Majestic in Barcelona, accompanied by my brother, Juan and my sister, María. The meeting was very exciting. I thought he was a very intelligent person. Afterwards, we met three more times, until his death four years later.
It fills me with pride to know that my father made a decisive contribution toward the triumph of the Allied troops and that his work saved many lives. What he did showed great intelligence, great courage and an admirable idealism. He lived in danger not only during his espionage work but until the end of his days because of the possible reprisals by Nazis who felt betrayed by this spy who they trusted more than any other.