Discovered

Juan Pujol in Normandy with war veterans
Juan Pujol in Normandy with war veterans.

For the next thirty-six years I lived peacefully in Venezuela; it was a quiet time for me for my life of action, of fighting for freedom, for my ideals, was over.

Then in 1984, when I was least expecting it, Nigel West broke the cover that I had so successfully maintained and, through painstaking research and careful investigation tracked me down.

A few days before the fortieth anniversary of the D-Day landings, he came on the telephone from London. He said how glad he was to be able to talk to the person whom everyone had thought to be dead.

Even though I wanted to forget all about the war, he was so insistent that I relented; he persuaded me that I would enjoy seeing old colleagues again and I was flattered at the thought of being introduced to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, who, he said, was very keen to meet me.

So many promises and offers were made that I agreed to think it over. After I was sure that all my Germans contacts had either disappeared or died, I decided that the time had come for my family to learn about my past, to hear about that part of my life which I had concealed from them up until now for security reasons.

And so I returned to London to receive personal thanks from the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace, my acknowledgement from the people of Britain of all that I had done to help them retain their democracy and their freedom and an example of their gratitude for backing their courageous fight against the Nazis.

For it was their resolute stand and their humane conduct which had driven me all those years ago to offer to help, so that we could work hand in hand for victory in the battle of good against evil.

But my main pride and satisfaction, now I look back, has been the knowledge that I contributed to the reduction of casualties among the thousands –the tens of thousands– of servicemen fighting to hold the Normandy beachheads.

Many, many more would have perished had our plan failed and the Germans counter-attacked in force.

Juan Pujol was received with honours in Europe but he was also able, after many years, to see his children. This is how Jorge, Juan and María relate it.