We met our tour guide, Ines, at 6pm at the Marques De Pombal. Ines is a passionate school teacher who really enjoys telling the story of the triple agent Duško Popov, who worked for the British, the Germans and the Serbians during World War 2, and who was supposedly the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s James Bond character. Portugal was neutral during WW2, and the British, Americans and Germans could all live there. Ian Fleming spent time there, working as a British spy, apparently with the code name “Goldeneye”.
As we strolled down Avenida da Liberdade - the poshest shopping street in Lisbon, which leads off Marquês de Pombal - Ines told us the story and pointed out the hotels used by the spies, the close proximity of the British, German and American embassies, and the secret exits into the main train station from a particular hotel. She also filled us in on the real spy’s back story and activities.
Dušan "Duško" Popov, OBE, was a Yugoslavian / Serbian triple agent who served as part of the MI6, and Abwehr (German intelligence) during World War II, and passed off disinformation to Germany as part of the Double-Cross System. He was also working as an agent for the government of Serbian King Karađorđević in London.
Popov was born into a wealthy family, and was a practicing lawyer at the start of the war. He held a great aversion to Nazism and, in 1940, infiltrated the Abwehr, Germany's military intelligence service, which considered him a valuable asset due to his business connections in France and the United Kingdom. Popov provided the Germans with misleading and inaccurate information for much of the war.
Deceptions in which he participated included Operation Fortitude, which sought to convince German military planners that the Allied invasion of Europe would take place in Calais, not Normandy, thereby diverting hundreds of thousands of German troops, and increasing the likelihood that Operation Overlord would succeed. He also claimed to have informed the FBI of the impending Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, but was ignored.
Popov was known for his promiscuous lifestyle, and courted women during his missions, including the French actress Simone Simon. He liked to gamble, and spent a fair bit of time at the casino in Cascais, located just out of Lisbon, and this was the inspiration for Casino Royale. Apart from MI6 and the Abwehr, he also reported to the Yugoslav intelligence service, which assigned him the codename Duško. His German handlers referred to him by the codename Ivan. He was codenamed Tricycle by the British MI5, apparently (Wikipedia) because he was the head of a group of three double agents. (Although Ines told us it was because he always had a woman on each arm).
We also heard from Ines about how the Jews were treated during the war in Lisbon. As Lisbon had remained neutral it was a safe haven for many during WW2, but they were confined to certain areas of the city - mainly the area we walked through - and were not allowed to work.
One other interesting thing that Ines pointed out was an old cinema, which is currently being restored. During WW2, this was where many Hollywood movies had their European premiere, and so many American actors and actresses visited the city during this time. Apparently “Gone With the Wind” premiered there.Read more