Ostro e a sua piroga


Frederic Suñer y Casadevall memoirs about Paul Fidrmuc, alias agent Ostro acting in Estoril

«El descobriment recent d’un llibre, que no trobava ( havia perdut per obres), em fa pensar en l’oportunitat de recordar la figura d’un persona lligada a Tamariu, Paul Fidrmuc i el seu conegut llibre •”Una piragua en la Costa Brava” (Editorial Iberia, Barcelona 1948). L’exemplar original que tinc, porta una dedicatoria al meu sogre, diu: “A Julio Carbo, el primer amigo que tuve en Tamariu”. L’amistat va augmentar fins a llogar-li la casa del Passeig del Mar de la platja. I per records dels meus sogres, alguns diumenges anaven a visitar-los. Mes tard, per part del editor fincat a Tamariu, Antoni Paricio, es va fer una edició facsímil de l’obra, esgotada de temps. 
Era nascut a Austria, si be per tothom passava com alemnay. Juntament amb la seva muller Rigmor, que era danesa, varen arribar a Tamariu pel els anys 1945. Ella anava sempre amb pantalons cosa que en aquells moments sorprenia a molts. Veien de Portugal on ell sembla feia espionatge per la Abweher alemanya des del 1940 fins el 1945. Tenien la seva residencia a Estoril, prop on vivia Don Juan de Borbon. Allí ja practicava la seva afició al piragüisme i coneixia be la costa lusitana. Un cop a Tamariu, ràpidament es van instal•lar a la casa esmentada, on vivien tot l’hivernai els dos mesos picats d’estiu marxaven a Barcelona. Vivia amb ells una gata d’angora que es deia “pipel.la”. Un cop ell mort, no recordo exactament, va ser per els anys 1960, patia un càncer d’ossos, ella va continuar molts anys entre Tamariu i Barcelona. A ella si que mitjançant la família de la meva esposa, vaig tenir ocasió de tractar-la temps i va assistir al nostre casament.. 
A Paul, físicament el recordo vagament, era una persona alta, musculosa, amb un tipus esportista i amb força. Parlava cinc o sis idiomes. Era una persona formada y culta. Educat, en els darreres èpoques, postrat a un sofà llit per la malaltia, quan hi anava algú amb moltes dificultats, s’aixecava sempre. Havia escrit varies novel•les policíaques, que es varen publicar a la Biblioteca Oro de l’Editorial Molino. A Alemanya i Àustria fou campió de natació, un cop aquí, la seva distracció era recórrer la costa amb una piragua, que ell anomenava “Don Tonto”. S’havia comentat si la piragua era una excusa per recórrer les cales i fer sondejos. En la època que vivia a Tamariu això ja no tenia cap interès amb la guerra pràcticament acabada. Si es possible ho fes des de Portugal quan la guerra estava en primer terme, alhora que completava la seva feina investigadora. 
Quan feia poc que era a Tamariu fou detingut i portat a Alemanya on va ser ingressat en un camp de concentració. Es va escapar i caminant va arribar fins a la frontera espanyola on agafa el tren. Envia un missatge a la seva muller avisant-la que tal dia, “Don Tonto”, arribaria a Tamariu. Al baixar del tren a Flaçà es va trobar-se amb en Samuel taxista, que era qui el portava sempre a Barcelona. Amb ell arribaren a Tamariu.
Lliure, va continuar amb la seva especialitat que era passejar amb piragües. En totes les va que va tenir els hi donava el mateix nom: “Don Tonto”. Era un mestre en la navegació en piragua, fos quin fos l’estat del mar, ell solia sortir i sostenia que era la millor forma d’embarcació per a sortir en mal temps. Era un expert en enfrontar-se a la tramuntana al golf de Roses amb gràfiques que ho expliquen. 
Passant al llibre, fou un èxit editorial. Ara encara es pot trobar la edició facsímil eludida. Documentadíssim i amb opiniós personals pròpies sobre els llocs visitats amb “Don Tonto”. Conte fotografies dels llocs que frequentava i esta ple de guies sobre els trajectes efectuats. O com manejar una piragua en cas de tramuntana forta, quan pareixien el “blancais, qure ell anomenava “blancos corceles del mar”. O una conversa amb en Gotas a Tamariu, a qui Fidrmuc cita com a “Ojo de Dios”: El saluda: “Hola, amiga “piragua”. Aun no te has ahogrado” “No aun, prefiero esperar algun tiempo”. I amb això acabo i deixi-ho que el lector pugui llegir enter el llibre.»

I read the Portuguese version of Ben Macintyre's book about some of the XX Committee's agents involved in "Bodyguard" operation, the counter-information plot against the Germans in order to deceive them about D'Day place of landing.
After the prologue the reader can be deceive about the number and nature of the agents that worked in that vital plan. Sir John Mastermann, in the second edition of his book, revelead the full list of the agents and codenames and they were not only five.
I write today about agent "Treasure", the white Russian (and only French by naturalisation), born Nathalie Sergueiew, because I wrote her biography, some years ago - gently quoted by the author - and feel obliged to give some further contribution about her case.
Macintyre's follows the official version of the British intelligence service that the temperamental lady almost compromised the whole operation because the beloved dog «Bab's» was not sent to her after she had been exfiltrated to England via Gibraltar, after the rendez-vous in Madrid with the POC Kenneth Benton, the MI6 officer, whose report about her I read in Kew Garden's Archives. I do disagree with this thesis because it seems that it's only a cover story in order to hide many of the contradictions of her case that are difficult to accept by the British stablishment.
There are also some other aspects that should be reconsidered.
First, if it's true that her German controler, major Emil (not Emile) Kliemann. from Luft Eins-Paris, had a psychological trauma in Madrid, suspecting that his lover and agent Yvonne Delidaise was in a a love affair with a Portuguese, the fact is that the name of the Portuguese is not Edgar Espírito Santo, but Ricardo Espírito Santo, the same banker who accepted in 1940 the Duke of Windsor in his villa in Boca do Inferno-Cascais.
Second, Benton could not assume, while interviewing "Lily" - her petty name - in Madrid that she was asking for a visa to reunite with her family, because the parents where in Paris and she only had a cousin (Dame) Elizabeth Hill, also Russian born, and academic specialized in Slavic studies in Cambridge University and officer at the soviet desk at the Ministry of Information, friend of the infamous soviet mole Anthony Blunt, the same who had been involved in Operation Triplex.
Third, she did not married Bart Coolings in 1947 but in 1945, 15 of August (see her letter to Louise Barton, an intimate friend) and died in Cedar, where her husband, already retired, lived when I interviewed him by phone for my book. He was an USAF's officer working in Paris, after the end of the war in the slave worker in the III Reich. I have in my possession the last letters that she wrote to her governess Mary Coate, whose son I interviewed in Wraxall (Bristol), that were left to his daughter Lucy Coate, whom I also met.
Fourth. One of the major points that I investigated for my book it's Sergueiew's (and not Sergeyev, as I read in many parts of the book) relationship with general Yevgeny Karlovich Miller, from the ROV's - the white russians organization in Paris - and the infiltration of the German Secret Service in this reseau, fact that it is relevant to acquired some solid grounds about agent Treasure's loyalty as a double agent. Miller had been kidnapped by NKVD, after the treason of general Skoblin, in a plot that I describe extensevly in my book.
The same must be said about the strange death of her sister Moussia, the body found naked in October 1945, because it remains the suspicion that the target was not her but "Lily", because she menaced to write the memoirs of her activity after been dismised from the secret service that she rendered.
That's all folks!
 
 
 

The Line...


Published in 1943 this book was issued in a facsimiled edition in 1999. It's a description of the Coast of the Sun, the mythical place were many of the spy stories occurred. «To love you have to know» it's the motto of this work that brings us back not only the landscape but also the people that since the end of the XIX century made first Cascais then Estoril as a first class place for leisure and secret encounters, in short, the ideal nest for the world of the shadows.
If some of these that are writing abroad about the secret war in this country could read Portuguese I would recommend this masterpiece from Gonta Colaço e Maria Archer.Unfortunately that it is not the case.