Secret War in Portugal [1939-1945]
For SOE [British Special Operation Executive] 24 Land was the code name for Portugal

11 September 2013

Kenneth Benton

He signed for me his memoirs when I visited him years ago. He was MI6 man in Madrid when Miss Sergueiew applied for a visa. During a long afternoon we talked about Garbo, Graham Greene and many others.

08 September 2013

Otto Strasser in Singeverga...

Otto Johann Maximilian Strasser [1897-1974], joined of the German Nazi Party [NSDAP], from whom he was expelled after dispute with Adolph Hitler. He wrote a book about his relationship with Hitler [see here]. See more about him, here
Rumours were disseminated about the fact that in 1940 on his escape to Bermuda he was hidden in a Beneditin monastery of Singeverga, while looking for his brother Paul, a monk.

Recently more information arrived about Strasser's route via Portugal: 

«[...] on 2nd October, 1940, the British Embassy in Lisbon smuggled Dr. Otto Strasser out of Portugal, paying his passage to Bermuda, and then on to Canada; and that, during the greater part of this escape from the Gestapo, Dr. Strasser travelled on a British passport under the name of Mr. Oswald Bostock, provided by Her Majesty's authorities [...]» [source here]

«[...] Otto Strasser was warned by friends not to use the Madrid-Lisbon train and sought to make his way to Portugal by detours. He took a bus from Madrid to Salamanca, a local train from there on, got out a few miles beyond the Portuguese frontier and took another bus to Villa Real on the coast, only to learn from the porter at the seminary that his brother had removed to a monastery in the interior. He was lucky to meet an old man, a prisoner of war in Germany in the First War, who was proud of his German, and who helped him with the inevitable paper-formalities at police headquarters and put him on another bus which brought him to his brother's monastery. He was greeted as one, risen from the dead, the radio having recently announced that he had been captured and killed by the Gestapo. The brothers drank a glass of port in honour of the German adage, Dass die Totgesagten am laengsten leben, and exchanged narratives. This was another idyllic respite on the hard path; outside Strasser's cell was an orange tree that bore both blossom and fruit, and the monastery garden, in its perfumed quiet, was like paradise. For Otto Strasser no respite endures long. He reached the monastery in the second week of August 1940 and one day in September, as the abbot and his monks were crossing the garden, a motor car drove into the courtyard. Two well-dressed men got out and asked to see the abbot, who gently praised the elegance of their vehicle. Without any embarrassment one of them answered, 'We should be most happy to make you a gift of one exactly like it if you will do something for us.' The abbot, somewhat taken aback, invited them into his study and afterwards informed Strasser of what transpired. His visitors informed him that they knew one Dr. Otto Strasser to be residing in his monastery under an assumed name. Dr. Strasser was a notorious traitor, whose extradition had already been applied for by the German Government. If the abbot would 'co-operate' and hand over the traitor to them, they would make a donation of a hundred thousand escudos to his monastery, in addition to the motor car already offered. The abbot reached for the telephone and called the police. 'By all means inform the police,' said one of his visitors, 'we have no objection', and he displayed a diplomatic passport. The two strangers were the Military Attache and the Press Attache of the German Legation in Lisbon. The police arrived, but could do nothing in view of the diplomatic passports; the two gentlemen politely but coldly withdrew and drove away [...]» [source here]

06 September 2013

Ilse Losa

Ilse, born Liblich, Losa (1913-1996). Arrived in 1934, after an escape to England family anted by Gestapo.. Wrote several books [first in 1943] concerning his personal experience about the world she lived, ficition and children stories. 

03 September 2013

Hotel Vitória

Now it belongs to the Portuguese Communist Party. During WW2 it was Hotel Vitoria.
Paradoxically Axis people used to stay here.It was built during 1934/1936, after a design of Cassiano Branco.